28 Novembre 2013
November 26, 2013
For the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, local farmers are preparing a delicacy known as "anpo" persimmon.
Farm workers have been busy hanging peeled persimmons for drying in farm buildings in Date, Fukushima Prefecture.
After the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, persimmons grown in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have levels of radioactive cesium that exceeded central government standards. Farmers decided to suspend production and shipment of the dried persimmons.
However, testing of the fruit last July showed that radiation levels were below government standards in some parts of the prefecture, including what was once the town of Yanagawa. That finding led the central and prefectural governments to designate Date, to which Yanagawa has been amalgamated, as a model district for the resumption of fruit processing.
In September, a second round of radiation testing was carried out. That spurred 580 farm households, or about half of all anpo persimmon farmers in the northern part of the prefecture, to resume production.
Farmers will still have to test their dried fruits before they can ship them. The drying process normally leads to an increase in levels of radioactive materials per kilogram of fruit. The prefectural government plans to test all finished products before giving the green light for sending the fruit to market.
If the dried persimmons are found to have radiation levels below government standards, they should reach the market from early December.