lifestyle

Growers bring their produce direct to Tokyo consumers

15 Comments

The Japan Agricultural Cooperative Association (JA) has opened a temporary store in Otemachi, Tokyo, as part of a campaign to sell vegetables which are approved safe to eat by the government but tend to be left unsold because of rumors that they are contaminated by radiation leaked by the tsunami-ravaged nuclear power station in Fukushima.

The shop is selling vegetables from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gumma, Tochigi and two other prefectures, as well as ready food cooked with ingredients from the same areas.

According to JA, on Thursday, they sold vegetables worth 180,000 yen and approximately 1,500 customers visited the shop.

“I understand the frustration farmers have right now,” a 70-year-old housewife said. “We can’t do anything about the rumors, but at least we can support the farmers by buying their fresh vegetables.”

JA will host the same event on April 14 at JA Building’s 4th floor in Otemachi from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday that the government will allow shipments of some produce from areas near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as they have been proved to be safe enough to consume.

The restrictions on raw milk from Kitakata and several other municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, and spinach and ''kakina'' leafy vegetable in Gunma Prefecture will be lifted, Edano said.

The government has changed the way in which it applies such restrictions earlier this week, now imposing them on a town-by-town basis and making it a condition that each product will not be banned from being shipped if radioactivity data stay below safety limits for a third straight week.

The government, meanwhile, will restrict farmers from planting rice near the nuclear complex, which has been facing the emergency situation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

If radioactivity levels higher than tentative safe limits set by the health ministry are detected in their rice, Edano said the government plans to pay them compensation.

© Compiled from news reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


15 Comments
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Don't usually spend enough time in Japan to know this. Are there farmer's markets? If not, there should be now.

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Yes there are, all over the place.

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Sorry, not buying any produce advertised as, "Safe enough to consume." This is TEPCO's problem, they should be compensating these farmers for every last yen in lost sales. People should feel absolutely no obligation to help out these farmers in this way--buying their contaminated produce.

I'm curious, though, let's say some produce that's over the govt.-set level of radiation makes it through to shelves (and you know it will); can that produce contaminate other safe produce by touching or being near it? Can it contaminate the actual shelves of the display case? Shopping baskets?

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I don't think i wouls trust produce from those areas at present. Luckily i live in the countryside and our fresh veg is all sourced locally and when i say locally about half is from within 1 KM of where i am typing this.

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I would buy these. Price will be super cheap, and safety wont be a problem if they were tested.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm always amazed at how trusting Japanese people are- who wants to feed their children with vegetables from Fukishima?! Even if it said to be safe, why take the risk? It's important to support those farmers, but not by eating their potentially poisoned goods...

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who wants to feed their children with vegetables from Fukishima?!

Fukushima covers a lot of ground. Some of it is a hundred kilometres from the nuclear plant. You may as well ask 'who wants to feed their children with veggies from [gasp] Japan?'

I don't know that there are normally all that many farmers' markets in Tokyo. My mil always stocks up at our local JA when she comes visiting.

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Fukushima covers a lot of ground. Some of it is a hundred kilometres from the nuclear plant.

True. From looking at a map, if you were to apply the U.S. recommended evacuation zone of 80km, most of the farming land in Fukushima would be included. From what I can tell, the flat area from roughly Aizuwakamatsu to Kitakata is the only place outside this area. Probably, produce from this area is relatively safe, however, I wonder if a distinction is being made among the Fukushima produce being sold. Anyway, I'm following the "better safe than even a tiny bit sorry" rule on this one.

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There was some news on TV about local farmers and fishmen and so on taking the added steps of testing their own food, going above and beyond the government testing which is pretty extensive to begin with but they feel they need to take to extra step to combat the perception of danger on foods that have already been cleared even. As a consumer I don't have much fear about the safety of the food in the markets, Japan has a very good country and area of origin labeling system on all their foods as well. Everything is being tested it seems.

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As a consumer I don't have much fear about the safety of the food in the markets, Japan has a very good country and area of origin labeling system on all their foods as well.

There have been quite a few food-labeling scandals in this country!

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What are the procedures to ensure that these vegetables do not contain higher than normal levels of radiation? Is there a government regulated testing process or are these farmers just loading up their trucks and heading to Tokyo?

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I'm curious, though, let's say some produce that's over the govt.-set level of radiation makes it through to shelves (and you know it will); can that produce contaminate other safe produce by touching or being near it? Can it contaminate the actual shelves of the display case? Shopping baskets?

Yes, cross-contamination is possible. If dust or liquid travels from unpackaged vegetable with 1999 Bq/kg of radioactive Iodine-131, which is safe insert sarcasm here according to prescribed safe limits (2000 Bq/kg), to another unpackaged vegetable on the same shelf, it will contaminate it to some extent.

The thing is there is no safe level radiation exposure. The correct term is "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA). It means that from a public health perspective the risks are negligible.

The health effects of radiation are stochastic -random- (long-term, low dose exposure) and non-stochastic - deterministic- (short term, high dose exposure). For non-stochastic effects it appears that there is a threshold and it is measurable. For stochastic effects it is impossible to set a threshold. Theoretically speaking we would need to set a threshold value for each cell in each organ.

"Linear no-threshold model" article in Wikipedia gives more information on this.

Again, the risk group here are pregnant women and children, and the major threat is Iodine-131.

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You know it is " safe " if they show the Tokyo politicians among the customers.

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I agree with Oberst, but even if they buy it, are they tossing it out the window on the drive back home?

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may be they'll donate their purchases to the evacuation centers.

All kidding aside, i think the produce are safe. The J.government is not THAT stupid as not testing for radiation before allowing the farmers' market to open up.

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