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Japan to resume Fukushima rice exports

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Its provenance will be marked and it will not be mixed with other produce, an official said.

The food labeling track record in Japan says otherwise. The temptation to mislabel will be high.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Its provenance will be marked and it will not be mixed with other produce, an official said.

Suuuuure!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Beyond belief.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

U may sell but don't expect me to buy! Most likely it will end up in restaurants looking for the best deal.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Its a large prefecture reaching to the west side and many areas were not affected by radiation. But many countries still ban farm produce from the area.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Just what we need to help the MAIDE IN JAPAN tag (Sarcasm).

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Maybe split Fukushima into radiated and non-radiated prefectures, with new names?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

mostly below detection levels

Mostly?

Plus, isn't the 100 becquerels double the limit from before the nuclear accident?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

What about the long term cumulative effect of eating mostly below detection levels food?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Maybe split Fukushima into radiated and non-radiated prefectures, with new names?

What a genuinely great idea!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What seems to be new is that Fukushima rice will be exported as Fukushima rice. What has been happening to it up to now? I have always assumed it was solde to the catering trade including convenience stores or mixed with rice from other prefectures to reduce radioactivity to an acceptable level.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This makes me sad, I like to be scientifically minded about things, but I fear that the almost comical denials, run arounds, and negligence shown by the government, nuclear safety agencies and so on show that trusting any export from this region has been tested and is safe would be unwise.

I feel for the people effected locally by this disaster but would rather than the government money subsiding them growing and throwing away their goods the last several years was spent relocating and setting these people elsewhere in the country.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Just one word: unbelievable!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

first place this rice in the Japanese market and see how many Japanese are going to buy this.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

borscht: you're absolutely right. The "safe" level suddenly jumped upward after the accident. Many people seem to lose sight of this point. When there is no nuclear reactor meltdown spewing radiation, the acceptable safe levels are low; but when a bunch of reactors meltdown, suddenly there is a whole new "safe". How convenient for those making those the rules. Lets not forget, either, the wisdom (sarcasm) of building several nuclear plants right in the heart of Japan's key agricultural heartland. Not much foresight involved there. I feel very sad for the farmers who cannot sell their wares. But they should not sell them and spread the problem until a real solution has been reached: for example, when radiation levels go down to pre-accident standards.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Some how I doubt it will be marked "FUKUSHIMA RICE" in large print, I'm sure you will need a large magnifying glass to read that detail.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Fukushima rice has been on sale since 2012.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I said it yesterday. The whole reason they wanted to lift the ban was to have an excuse to let people in Fukushima sell produce to the rest of Japan.

I bet the will either have it in real small print, mislabel it, to just mixed with other rice like they did with the meat products.

The rule of law here: ignore it and it doesn't exist

6 ( +6 / -0 )

borscht: you're absolutely right. The "safe" level suddenly jumped upward after the accident. Many people seem to lose sight of this point.

Still, it's almost certainly lower than what is regarded as 'safe' in your own country.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

"Its provenance will be marked and it will not be mixed with other produce,"

Yeah, sure, because there's never been any incidents of mislabeling for the sake of sales in this country... certainly not 6 or more in a week's time recenlty! nope!

Anyway, I'll stick to the locally grown brown rice and imported jasmine and basmati rice, thanks.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Soon after the accident the national standard (limit) jumped from 100 Bq to 500 Bq per kg because the government feared that there would be a shortage of food which could comply with the legally established radiation levels of the time before the accident. Several months later the government re-introduced the lower limit of 100 Bq per kg (one called "new standard limit") and though the "provisional limit" is still 500 the standard limit has remained 100 Bq per kg then. Check the English page of the Ministry of Health for more detailed information.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ah, that special kind of radiation which miraculously disappears after three years!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I feel like Snow White inspecting that apple from Japan!!

Oh don't worry, Japan. I kept that jpeg so I can blog it anywhere in the world.

I'll make sure to contact Singapore blogs and post there....warnings.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Half of it selling it JA I'm guessing

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It seems as uf many comments above fail to take into account an important point. Namely if Singapore is allowing the import of this rice, surely it meets not only the Japanese standards, but also the Singaporean standards for radiation levels. And if there are any worries about the truthfulness of the Japanese results, Singapore will surely conduct their own tests.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

From green tea to cars Japan has seen radioactive goods returned to its shores. Why is there an emphasis on the export of Fukushima agricultural products when there is still a massive discharge of radiation from the unlocated corium at the ruined nuclear power station every single day,with no end in sight!

The government lost a credibility in my mind when I saw Fukushima produce appear in my supermarket at half price for the first time in the spring of 2011.

Japanese people won't eat it so maybe some ignorant foreigner will.....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In the US, no more Yoshinoya for me.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And Fukushima will resume importing cabbage from Chernobyl. Right!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I think this rice will be the most stringently tested rice in Japan and is probably safe. I'd be willing to buy it if it will help Fukushima farmers. I have already been buying peaches from Fukushima each summer since 2011 and will continue to do so.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@JohnY921 If you go to the Yoshinoya in Hong Kong, there is a sign that says the rice used is not from Fukushima. I bet they had lost a lot of sales before they put that sign up!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

mislabeling is about the only way they have any chance of selling large quantities, or you can just go to your local Yoshinoya, they use produce made in Fukishima. Ill steer clear thankyou

0 ( +2 / -2 )

300kgs....30 bags..?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lots of ignorant people. i will buy those if they're cheaper.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Ya...I'd be in for a few bags. Hell, I eat the fish swimming up and down this coast...so what's a little risky rice going to do??

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Arimura: "lots of ignorant people. i will buy those if they're cheaper."

Or people with common sense. Wasn't there a scandal just last week with. Company mixing imported Chinese rice with homegrown and played it off as top quality Japanese rice? Point is, you can't trust the government's word on this kind of thing, given how many times they've lied about it in the past.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Let the mislabeling begin!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

“Our rice is proved to have passed the government safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram (a measure of radioactive contamination), and is mostly below detection levels” of measuring instruments, he said.

There are two things in this statement that are extremely worrying. First is, 'government safety standards' and the second is, 'mostly'.

I guess the main point is, this rice has been mixed with rice from other areas and sold domestically for the last two years in Japan and nobody is dead yet. Another point would be, with the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in rice production in Japan a few becquerels of radiation should be the least of your worries.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This was part of the NK and Japan import and export deal recently signed Abe promised to send rice

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Educator60: I really hope you are right about Singapore conducting its own tests. Radiation standards, as shown by many commenters above, are fluid and change to accommodate convenience. I really hope Singapore does its own independent tests, and by "independent" I mean independent of political deals and lobbies and pressures to trade. That would be encouraging.

Arimura: you get what you pay for. That's sometimes a crappy deal, but it's true. So buying Fukushima produce because it is cheap gives you an immediate benefit. But long-term, who knows? Me, I won't gamble the health of future generations on it. Not until unbiased independent and independently funded research makes the actual situation clear. BTW, be careful when you use the word "ignorant". Who is ignoring the facts of radionuclide content in food? Certainly not the people who are wary about it.

Onniyama: good point. I wonder who in Japan would buy produce labelled from Chernobyl/Pripyet. Not many, I suspect. Wouldn't it be funny if cucumbers from Chernobyl and cucumbers from Fukushima were sold side by side in a supermarket here? It would be 'interesting' to watch shoppers choose

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I bet most of the people commenting negatively here unquestioningly eat food from other prefectures without stopping to think whether it meets food standards or not.

As for the "safe" level, I remember reading after the quake that Japanese maximum safe limits were TEN times lower than those in the EU, for example. Yet everyone seems to assume (probably quite correctly in most cases) that EU-produced food is not hazardous to health. You've got to have a basic belief in food safety everywhere, or you'd starve!

There are a lot of hard working farmers in Fukushima who deserve our support. Please support Tohoku's recovery and support Fukushima's farmers.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I have lots of relatives in Singapore, and I don't think any of them would knowingly purchase rice grown in Fukushima. In fact, I think you may see people avoid Japanese restaurants for fear they are serving Fukushima rice. I'm all for supporting the people of Fukushima, but I hope this is just a friendly gesture by the Singapore government, and the rice is not for human consumption. 300 kg seems like a very small quantity, anyway. Looks like this is all for show.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not sure why everyone is saying Japan will lie about the radiation levels - Singapore will check it when it arrives...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nightshade 2014, "I really hope Singapore does its own independent tests, and by "independent" I mean independent of political deals and lobbies and pressures to trade"

Of course that should be the norm for any testing, anywhere, anytime.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Go to the election, give the politicians the fear that they may lose their authority, and take part in the government.

Or you're gonna suffer from the disaster.

Wake up, Japan!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fronttandecentre: I know exactly where and how 90% of my food is grown. It comes from an organic farm (that I frequently visit) they take great care of their soil and even use natural spring water, both are monitored and tested. The unknown 10% only happens because we sometimes eat at restaurants. While I feel badly for Fukushima farmers, it was TEPCO who caused them harm. Our support for the farmers should be focused on them being compensated, for all the damages caused by TEPCO. Because I have a family with young children, I try to avoid eating risky foods. If I didn't have children, I might feel the same way as you.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

fukushima rice, 100 becquerels/kg -> 2,700 picocuries(pCi)/kg

in comparison:

brazil nuts -> 6,600 pCi/kg lima beans -> 4,640 pCi/kg bananas -> 3,520 pCi/kg carrots -> 3,400 pCi/kg potatoes -> 3,400 pCi/kg etc.
2 ( +4 / -2 )

Ah, that special kind of radiation which miraculously disappears after three years!

It's like, you're going to buy it and you're going to like it, that's it. We know what's best for the customer and we are telling you, the radiation is gone, don't heed ANY scientific reports, they don't know anything. We at the Zen-Noh know what's right. Because for us, profits are the end result. That's what we care about.

Nice going to winning the people over and giving them faith and trust that the government would do the right thing. When the cancer rates start to go up, we will all know why, but methinks the government will blame it on something else or someone else.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I have lots of relatives in Singapore, and I don't think any of them would knowingly purchase rice grown in Fukushima.

I'm curious about this, too. I have a good friend in Singapore who told me that women who had been holidaying in Japan during the crisis actually went as far as terminating their pregnancies, upon the advice of their home doctors. Singapore is a rich country with a vibrant food culture, and the people will not be dictated to about what and where they should eat. And Japan is going to have to learn that not every problem can be solved with money.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They should first make all the goverment officals eat it for 1 year the if all is good the distribute it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sounds like Singapore needs to introduce a 400% tariff on imported Japanese rice.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I have been buying fruits and vegetables from Fukushima and will continue to do so. The other day I received a present - Japanese sake made in Fukushima and it was pretty good. Fukushima is a very large prefecture and most of it was not affected by the radioactive particles after the accident. The heavily polluted areas have not been re-populated yet and are likely to remain so for years to come. The land in those areas is not used to grow agricultural produce.

What many people are not aware of is that the Japanese legally allowed limit of 100 Bq/kg is at least five times more stringent than the limits in most if not all of the European countries and even more so than the limit in the US. Coming from a European country, I can say that my fellow country men and women never worry about radioactivity in food grown there. I suspect that most of the agricultural produce goes unchecked. The limit in my country is 500 Bq/kg and I am also pretty sure that the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used there exceeds this in Japan. Yet, I love my mother's dishes and never think twice before I enjoy each one of them.

I understand that everybody wants to be cautious. We cannot play with our health. Yet, there are farmers in the non-polluted areas in Fukushima who are trying to get back to normal and I personally am happy to be one of the people to help them.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I read in a newspaper that after the Tschernobyl catastrophe the limit for food that was imported into Europe was 370 becquerel per kg for dairy products and 600 becquerel for other food, which was more than thrice/six times the standard of Japanese authorities now. And as far as I know there was no increase of health problems caused by radioactivity in Europe (except for the areas directly affected by the catastrophe of course) during the last 30 years. I mean I grew up in Germany during that time, so I ate all this food and I am still healthy. Apart from that, hearing about all the meat scandals that happened in Europe lately, and if they really get genetically manipulated vegetables and chlorine chicken from the US in future, I am not so sure if eating in Europe isn't more dangerous that eating food from Fukushima.

But having said all that, I have to confess that I cannot help panicking. My husband and me avoid buying food from Fukushima and all neighbouring prefectures as well >.<

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What many people are not aware of is that the Japanese legally allowed limit of 100 Bq/kg is at least five times more stringent than the limits in most if not all of the European countries and even more so than the limit in the US.

Are you talking about foodstuffs imported into Japan, or domestic produce? Japan is notorious for having extremely stringent requirements for one, but not for the other. Guess which is which?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

JaneM, thanks, you said what I am thinking, too. Just did not see your comment before I posted mine. And yes, I can't remember my parents checking every single food they bought, either. And we lived in south Germany, where the ground was quite contaminated and still is in some areas. But nobody I know in Germany worries about that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Our rice is proved to have passed the government safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram (a measure of radioactive contamination), and is mostly below detection levels” of measuring instruments

Now mostly safe! They'll have to again expand the radiation limit from 100 becquerels to something else if they want to declare it entirely "safe".

When does this facade become criminal? Also the farmers will need to be compensated out of TEPCO profits.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, Tessa, I am not talking about imported foods. The limit of 100 Bq/kg is set for foods produced in Japan. As for imported foods, an acquaintance of mine who imports cookies from Ukraine told me a couple of years ago that the Japanese authorities have extremely stringent requirements for imported foods: you need a lot of papers proving that the foods you import comply with the safety standards of the country of origin. Once you get all the necessary documents (and they are indeed a lot) you are good to go. As I have not imported any foods to Japan I cannot talk from experience but chances are that some foods imported from Europe or the US, while they comply with the safety standards of the country of origin, are still above the limits set for foods produced in Japan.

Schinge Samsara, you are welcome and I am glad to know that we have very close views regarding the above headline.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My household buys and consume Koshihikari rice from Niigata and Kanazawa from the Isetan Supermarket in Singapore. For our next grocery run, I'll be involved so as to read for any Fukushima labeling on the 5kg bags. I don't trust these official pronouncements on safety because radiation accumulation from food consumption is not something you can cure. These officials both in Japan and Singapore have their own political reasons for declaring whether something is safe for consumption or not. If and when health problems happen later, they can always say 'radiation detection technology at the time did not warn us of these health issues, sorry. We will now implement more stringent testing'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I just had a discussion with my Japanese husband about this topic tonight and he thinks the regulation for food from Fukushima might be strict, but he does not trust the test results. They might be fake. Can't really say anything against it as long as I don't have any contamination meter to test the food by myself. However, I found an article in a Swiss newspaper, saying that the EU raised the limit to 2500 becquerel/kg for food after the Fukushima catastrophe. So, food in the EU can't really be safer than food from Fukushima.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My household buys and consume Koshihikari rice from Niigata and Kanazawa from the Isetan Supermarket in Singapore.

And you believe that I'd where the rice actually came from? You should have taken the blue pill!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe split Fukushima into radiated and non-radiated prefectures, with new names? unfortunatley thats just the same as mislabeling foods, in the end its still grown in Fukushima

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Disillusioned: If they have been blatantly selling Fukushima rice in Niigata/Kanazawa packaging, there's no need to repackage them as Fukushima rice now. Do you eat fish fillet? Are you sure the fishes were not caught off Fukushima?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am curious if people in Fukushima are eating Fukushima rice primarily. Does anyone know ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Haven't we been told?

Just keep smiling and all will be fine!

Believe and don't question......

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

turbotsat: Maybe split Fukushima into radiated and non-radiated prefectures, with new names?

wtfjapan: unfortunatley thats just the same as mislabeling foods, in the end its still grown in Fukushima

I said it because:

zichi: Its a large prefecture reaching to the west side and many areas were not affected by radiation. But many countries still ban farm produce from the area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No rice for me...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even the farmers say they do not eat the rice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ-ozcLriDQ

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is understandable that people fear the unknown but as stated above, the "organic" carrots,lima beans, bananas, etc. have easily 1.5x-2x "natural" radiation levels.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So the sales promotion gives you a Geiger Teller with a 20 kilo bag? :O

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Arimura: radiation from the sun is greatly different then radiation from a nuclear meltdown, (related to bananas) as for carrots, I don't know where the carrots (in the study were grown ) but my organic carrots DONT have that high of a count!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

stuart: fruits such as carrots,banana, etc. have natural radioactivity because of the minerals they contain which are naturally radioactive such as potassium, radon, ... they are not harmful however. just like the very low radioactivity of fukushima rice. i did not mention anything about the sun.

the two main concerns for fukushima were the ionizing radiation from the cesium and iodine isotopes which could have contaminated the area and absorbed by the plants and animals. the iodine isotope only has a half-life of 8 days and is gone. more than 99% of the cesium ,if absorbed by the plants/animals and animals and subsequently eaten by humans, are excreted.

in the case of fukushima radiation, ignorant fear of radiation caused and continue to cause much more damage and misery than radiation itself.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Don't worry, it will be sold in restaurants and no one will know the rice origins.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Arimura: Potaassium 40 (found in Bananas) is NOT the same as cesium 137 or strontium!!! While it true that ionizing radiation only last for eight days, cesium 137 last for a 30 year minimum. I would love to see the website you used that says, 99% of all cesium 137 eaten by humans is simply excreted, without any danger to your health. Because I actually DO have a family with young children, I'm not taking the risk. Do you have young children and specifically feed them fish and rice grown and caught from this area?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

<>August 23, 2014 6:00P.M JST<>

I will go along with Educator 60 , who says to the effect that Singapore will conduct its own inspection in trems of whether the shipment of rice from Fukushima lives up to the prescrived decontamination standard before they get it through the customs. Turning our attention to the rice exporter's side, this we can say for certain that not only do they depend on the national governmen-issued safety standard, they will go out of their ways to make sure that the rice to be exported is safe for consumption by subjecting each 30 kolo weight's of rice to a rigorous inspection.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its amazing & extraordinary. Singapore government has become Silly. Silly! Silly!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a very congratulatory news for Fukushima and Tohoku region. The restoration efforts seem to be fruitful even though it's not so speedy as most Japanese will expect. I also wish the region's restoration to be conducted more and more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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