Mushrooms Join Growing List of Radioactive
Threats to Japan’s Food Chain
Fukushima Power Plant
Electromagnetic Radiation Protection
Electromagnetic Field Meter
Fujimura - Aug 12, 2011
Mushrooms are the latest addition to threats
facing Japan’s food chain from radiation spewed by Tokyo
Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.
Nameko mushrooms grown in the open air in Soma, a city
about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the crippled plant,
were found to contain nine times the legal limit of cesium,
the local government said yesterday. Japan’s farm ministry
asked growers in Fukushima prefecture to refrain from
harvesting mushrooms off raw wood left outside, public
broadcaster NHK said today.
Japan is under pressure to enhance safety inspection of
foods, as it has no centralized system for detecting
radiation contamination. Authorities in Fukushima and
neighboring prefectures are conducting spot checks on
products in cooperation with local farmers.
Half of Japan’s rice crop is grown within the radius of
possible contamination from the nuclear plant damaged in the
March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and farmers are awaiting
the results of tests before harvesting begins this month.
Radiation exceeding safety levels has been found in produce,
tea, milk, fish and beef sourced as far as 360 kilometers
from the nuclear plant.
“By strengthening inspection on rice, we want to make
only safe produce are around in the market,” Agriculture
Minister Michihiko Kano said at a press conference
EU Seafood Tests
The European Union plans to strengthen radiation
inspection on imported seafood, both from waters near Japan
and from farther out in the Pacific, NHK reported today.
Levels of cesium-134 in seawater near the Fukushima
plant’s No. 3 reactor rose to levels 30 times the allowed
safety standards last month, according to tests performed by
Tokyo Electric Power Co, NHK reported at the time.
The forestry agency urged Fukushima prefecture to prevent
shipments of any wood or charcoal that has been stored
outdoors since the nuclear crisis, the Yomiuri newspaper
said today. Jiji Press reported that the farm ministry
ordered the local authorities to conduct tests on trees used
for mushroom growing.
Tochigi prefecture, which borders Fukushima on the south,
has begun collecting rice samples for testing, according to
a report today on the website of the Sankei newspaper.
Last month, hay contaminated with as much as 690,000
becquerels a kilogram, compared with a government safety
standard of 300 becquerels, was found to have been fed to
cattle. Beef with unsafe levels of the radioactive element
was detected in four prefectures, the health ministry said
Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and
food can cause leukemia and other cancers, according to the
London- based World Nuclear Association.