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Tokyo starts radiation checks on city's food

45 Comments

The Tokyo metropolitan government on Tuesday began a large-scale investigation into the extent of radioactive material in the city's food stores.

The city began monitoring the radioactivity of edible goods on sale in shops of various sizes throughout the capital and will continue the checks until the end of March 2012, TBS reported. Officials say the data will be available online at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health website from Wednesday.

The institute says it intends to randomly purchase and test around 20-30 items, such as vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, tofu and dairy products, each week from stores throughout the capital. The center says it will prioritize foodstuffs grown and processed in Japan, products eaten regularly by the average family, and food that is often given to children, TBS reported.

Authorities said that any items found to contain more than 50 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram will be subjected to more thorough testing, while products with a cesium level of more than the government-set safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram will be withdrawn from sale.

An official at the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health told TBS that the measure is being carried out to reassure the people of Tokyo that their food is safe.

© Japan Today

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45 Comments

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It would have been nice if they had started this 6 months ago...

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Since food is difficult to test and takes time, I have started testing the dirt in the boxes that the food arrives in. Cesium likes to stick to dirt.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

20-30 products will be tested each week?

Is that all?

Random purchasing means that the goods tested might be from Kansai or Okinawa.

Is there a strange logic to this testing?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

starting....wow

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Starting now?? That's a bit late. The capital city of Japan....starting now.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wow a little late... and only after pressure from the media

3 ( +4 / -1 )

kurisupisu, at first I also wondered same thing but if you think twice there is logic. There might be simply re-branded goods or source products used from different/affected regions used in products made on different location. Like they catch fish of Ibaraki but come to Chiba and it seems like the fish is from where the packaging was done, etc. There is good sense in random checks and although I also wished they had started earlier it is not possible to check everything. Hope we get results quick - I mean before the product in question has vanished and still samples from the same batches can be found.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

6 months ago? Very nearly 8. Shan't. Won't.

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

and in breaking news, next year the tokyo govt will begin testing the water supply for radiation. they were planning to begin in 2013 but decided they had enough spare people to run the tests.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Better late than never I guess... Glad they're finally doing it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is both good and bad. It is hard to imagine the panic it will create in the 20 odd million residents of Tokyo if they find high levels in stable foods. There is also the economic impact to consider. This makes me wonder how true the reports will be. After all, it would not be the first time the j-gov lied, would it?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And any food over 500 bq would be there because JA does similar 'sampling' of 60 items a week in Fukushima and elsewhere. Better than doing nothing I guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bananas are naturally radioactive to begin with. That's probably what they'll find--more radioactivity in the stuff that comes from outside Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I was happy to read this article until I thought about it some more.

Common sense dictates that they should have put a complete ban on all Fukushima produce immediately after the incident. Once produce was proven to be safe (or otherwise) it could be released to the general public (or destroyed). It would cost a hell of a lot of money, but who would put a price on the safety of the Japanese people?

This is too little too late. The damage has already been done.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

While testing of any foodstuffs is good, the testing needs to be done at farm level in those prefectures which have radiation contamination. A sample of all foodstuffs needs testing. The origin of the foodstuffs should be on the labels, and what radiation was tested, and what amounts found. For loose foodstuffs like vegetables, food stores should be required to label those tested foodstuffs.

In Britain, 25 years after Chernobyl, there still 350 farms which are required to test their crops and animals before releasing them to market.

It needs a national co-ordinated testing procedure.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Too little, too late. Japanese government disappoints again.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

moomoochoo,

there are farms within Fukushima Prefecture which are not contaminated while there are hotspot areas outside of Fukushima Prefecture.

Farms west of Fukushima City are mainly not contaminated. Farms east of Fukushima City are mostly contaminated.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

... and what if they do find radiated food? Does that mean we've been eating such stuff since the nuclear reactors blew sky high? Even so ... we've all been through this mess together since March 11 and we're still here. Guess that's good enough for starters ...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Where is the graphic of a horse leaving the barn?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

..... the level of incompetence in Japan still amazes me. only NOW are they checking? I have seen people with geiger counters being used while shopping. Why do they need to buy it to test it? Stick the reader next to the product, wait a few seconds, and then move on. Even considering getting one myself.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Food producers have been measuring the radiation for months. You can't measure radiation in food with a hand held counter. It will prove nothin'!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To all those Einsteins in the Tokyo Metro Government - how about getting together with the food producers and cutting it out AT THE SOURCE!

If every prefecture's Public Health department collaborated and coordinated I'm sure systematic testing could actually be done at the source, at the wholesale distribution points and so on. Isn't that better than running round like headless chickens randomly testing this and that?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I agree that it takes SOME time for the radiation to disseminate through the food chain, but they STILL should have started long ago, if onlyfor comparison. And they're picking up stuff off the shelves, which means the stuff people are consuming NOW, not at warehouses before it's sold. Finally, why stop at the end of March? Is it like Driver's Safety Week where they work a bit harder than normal for a week and then pat each other on the back and go back to slacking off? If the argument is that it takes time to be absorbed in food or what have you, doesn't it make more sense to continue given that the nuclear disaster has yet to be contained?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

stress management exercise? to counter the biggest health problem post this issue.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wonder why it took so long to make a decision like that. You guys at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have to eat the same food here like the rest of us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I heard the same news about drinks, it will start test for drinks in Tokyo and randomly in other prefectures. I never seen any results. They should check all over Japan, not Tokyo only. Anyway, they gonna say just that the food doesn't exceed they safety level. We will never know the exactly values on radioactivity in food.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is shocking to me they waited so long to get a testing procedure like this going, why? What could the excuse be this time?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have to disagree with the, "too little, too late!" comments. The thing is, even if some food stuffs are irradiated you have to consume a lot of it regularly to get any negative health effects. Everybody is exposed to certain levels of radiation every day and in moderation it is harmless. Gees, your smoke detectors in your home give off radiation. I am not really worried about this cos I don't eat three squares of Fukushima rice every day.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I used to worry about the Chinese poisoning food sent to Japan from China, but now, if I see anything from Fukushima, Chiba, Ibaraki, maybe the Chinese stuff is not so bad after all??

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They started this late so that all the loop holes would be firmly in place.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Roots and tubers are probably more radioactive now with the byproducts of Daiichi sinking into the soil. But I agree this should have been done when Spinach was detected to have cesium in the leaves and on the Farm level. Like with the rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Far too late. This should have been done right from the get go! Am glad it is being down but 20-30 items? Regardless, I still won't be buying anything from Tohoku. Sorry, don't trust the government to give me safe food!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"An official at the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health told TBS that the measure is being carried out to reassure the people of Tokyo that their food is safe" What this means is that the results are already known. they should be such that they reassure the unsuspecting consumers that the food is safe! Pheewww!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow a little late... and only after pressure from the media

More likely pressure from people in Tokyo with nothing better to do than worry about radiation.

The food is supposed to be being tested at source, so what will this achieve? If it finds anomalies, then the whole system is screwed. Not against it, just questioning the value.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Agree with Samuel, the results are already known, all is okay.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Based on the recent discoveries of hotspots in and around Tokyo, I'm sure they're taking things a bit more seriously. Foodstuffs that have grown over the summer are making it to market, now, so now is the time to test them. Back in March they were just seeds in seed bags.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why test? Why not just ask the Europeans, who test all imported Japanese food. That way the news about the meltdowns would also have been on time.

Japan is a small obstinate child nation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The EU is not testing Japanese foodstuff imports. It requires testing of foodstuffs from 12 prefectures to be tested before leaving Japan. There are some random testing when it arrives in Europe. Products from the remaining 35 prefectures will have to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin.

Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo and Chiba.

Both the EU and America have standards for radiation in foodstuffs, why?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'd like labeling to be mandatory.......

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The thing is people that while 7-8 months is a long time, it takes months for food to actually arrive in the supermarkets. food is stockpiled and distributed as places order it. so it is very possible that the food you ate three months was harvested before march 11. it is also possible that contaminated food started to be put on shop shelves only one month ago! who knows?!?!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

you might say that surely the food would have gone off by now, but due to the amount of pesticides and other junk they inject into our food, it is possible that food one year on is good (?) to eat today. scary isn' it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

replying to DisillusionedNov. 08, 2011 - 09:50PM JST

I have to disagree with the, "too little, too late!" comments. (..)Gees, your smoke detectors in your home give off radiation.

I invite you to eat the Americium-241 pellet in your smoke detector. Grind and dissolve it first to better simulate the form that radioactive contamination in food may take.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kiss, I highly doubt the veggies and fruit they push from Tohoku in my locals are from before March 11th! A little common sense please!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Has anyone managed to get the data yet? Can't see it on the link provided.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would help if the government would come up with a logo to identify radioactive food.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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