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Testing of Fukushima rice about 1 month behind schedule


The Fukushima prefectural government said Wednesday that work to check all harvested rice for cesium has fallen behind schedule.

Currently, the prefectural government and local associations of rice growers are testing all rice for cesium at Koriyama. However, prefectural officials said there are only four machines and some 6,000 bags are being delivered to the center each day, NTV reported. The machines can check up to 4,000 bags per day, taking about 10 seconds per bag, officials said.

In August, Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato said every bag of newly harvested rice in the prefecture would be tested before it was shipped to markets across Japan. He said that this year's rice harvest was expected to amount to around 12 million bags.

The government this month tightened the allowable radioactive cesium level in rice to 100 becquerels per kilogram. Previously, it was 500 becquerels.

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As a comparison I can mention that Sweden, after Chernobyl, set the limit for food expected to be consumed weekly or more often to 300Bq/Kg.

The point is be open about the rules you set and the decisions you make, and provide enough information for people to make their own informed decisions. It is the only way that trust can ever be restored.

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No I am not nitpicking, that was not my point. There is no real difference in consuming something that is 100Bq/Kg or 105Bg/Kg.

What I am saying is that they set a limit. The rice was somewhat over that limit, and it took them time to figure out what the hell to do about it. Finally their solution was to round off the overshoot, which in my opinion is not how you try to rebuild trust in your countries food safety procedures.

If it would have been something like 200-300Bq/Kg, rice being the most basic staple for Japanese people, then my judgement would have been somewhat diffrent.

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Perhaps it takes time to figure out how to round of the last integer to keep the rice in the legal range.

Hmm...the range was previously considered safe at 500 Bq/Kg. Due to the psychological fear of radioactivity, the range was lowered to 100 Bq/Kg.

Now you are making comments about a round-off of 5 Bq? Seriously? Isn't there a point where the nit-picking gets a little unrealistic?

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Perhaps it takes time to figure out how to round of the last integer to keep the rice in the legal range.


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Can someone explain me how this radiation check works? I'm surprised it takes only 10 seconds for a bag of rice... Is it really possible to measure the Cs level in such a short time? Is there a sample taken? If it's so easy, quick and gives real results what's the problem with testing all the food (apart from the time it'd take)?

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Enough of a lag for it to be shipped (or some, anyway) without being properly tested.

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Or perhaps it's the predictable "all rice has passed and is contaminated, but within the limit".

Predictable compared to what?

"The rice is contaminated beyond safe limits, but we let it pass anyway."

I wouldn't have predicted that. In all cases, it's way to early to get any sort of results, and considering how few machines and people there are available who can do this job, it may take a bit.

Limits for contamination are common in all food. That people fear the radioactive boogeyman over the far, far more common bacterial or mold infections has more to do with them than the actual testing and limits decided on by the health professionals.

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Right, so we know the rice is being tested, albeit slowly, but is there any news on what rice is safe and what rice has been rejected.

Or perhaps it's the predictable "all rice has passed and is contaminated, but within the limit".

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