Radiation checks of food in Japan are only 1 percent of what Belarus checked in past year -Bloomberg

Published: March 19th, 2012 at 12:17 pm ET


Title: Fukushima Farmers Face Decades of Tainted Crops as Fears Linger
Source: Bloomberg
Authors: Aya Takada and Yasumasa Song
Date: Mar 18, 2012

[…] Inadequate testing by the government of rice, milk and fish from the region has prompted consumers to leave them on supermarket shelves and instead select produce from other regions or from overseas. Checks conducted nationwide so far are only 1 percent of what Belarus checked in the past year, a quarter century after the Chernobyl disaster, according to Nobutaka Ishida, a researcher at Norinchukin Research Institute. […]

Contaminated produce still found a way to markets even as the government assured people that testing was adequate. Sample surveys last year failed to prevent contaminated tea leaves from Saitama prefecture and beef and rice from Fukushima from being shipped to the market. The tainted rice came after Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said in October that grain from the prefecture was safe to eat, deepening consumer concerns.

To eliminate tainted items completely from the food supply, all products must be tested, which can’t be done, said Hideshi Michino, a director at the health ministry’s food safety department. […]

Read the report here

Published: March 19th, 2012 at 12:17 pm ET


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29 comments to Radiation checks of food in Japan are only 1 percent of what Belarus checked in past year -Bloomberg

  • Cindy

    If all food grown from a contaminated region cannot be tested , then why grow them ?

    This food stuff has already failed some tests … It all will probably fail…

    Are these people stupid ?

    Growing food in contaminated soil should be a no brainer!!!


      @Cindy: it's all about the money. Those that can afford imported food or the ability to outright escape, will avail themselves of these options. We'll (notice I'm including the American people) have to do our best to ignore the fact that these government agencies have chosen to leave the citizenry out in the cold. Not just in Japan but across the globe, all of us are being callously exposed to these radioactive contaminants, so that a handful of vested interests can minimize their potential losses…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Eventually… they will eat contaminated food or starve..the Japanese government has no intention or capability to provide non- contaminated food to the masses.

    • Grampybone Grampybone

      The government is spending massive amounts of money on oil and natural gas to compensate for the reactors they have shut down over the past year. The expenses for the government of Japan seem to greatly outweigh their ability to provide safety to their citizens food supply. If they had the money for testing and evacuation I'm sure they would have started to do so in a more timely fashion. They are also in full scale damage control mode where suppressing panic is priority numero uno; hence all the silly propaganda about "cold shutdown".

      • Bob Hardin Bob Hardin

        Also, Japan's national debt is over 200% of GDP. Compare basket- case Greece, with 160%. Among other things, this means Japan's future borrowing-power will be extremely limited. They will have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

        But what if all the strangers are down with radiation sickness themselves?

        • FukuYou FukuYou

          Japan is Fukued.


          @Bob Hardin: this is why I always remind people of the "too cheap to meter" myth! The world's about to discover the real cost of nuclear power and it's evil twin, nuclear weapons. When the bill comes in (and it eventually will), future generations are likely to conclude that it would've been far more cost effective to have hauled wood to our caves. Were we ever a batch of suckers and fools!

  • DOOMED, They are All DOOMED !

  • charlie3

    xdrfox, I agree, they are doomed. But is life on the whole planet eventually equally doomed? The Japanese people are our canary in the coal mine.

    • Yes, we will follow, It will take a bit longer !

      I am so ashamed of us all allowing it to happen, accept the ones that have been at the watchtower for may years !

      • Grampybone Grampybone

        We live in an idiocracy where the people have decided to sell their fate to the hands of those who are unwilling to take any responsibility for their actions. Human beings as a species is unprepared scientifically to harness the atom. The result of overzealous atomic expansion put the shoes on the horse and the nail in the coffin.

  • sonnen.blum.239 sonnen.blum.239

    and since it is difficult to source where the rice flour actually came from, and it is in so many products including potatoe chips, Pringles, etc., the doom may extend around the world. Grow local and test, eat local, still test. Don't expect the government to do it for you; they won't.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Sorry Off Topic

    Nuclear Event in Japan
    on Monday, 19 March, 2012
    at 16:56 (04:56 PM) UTC.

    Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, Naka District

    Prefecture of Ibaraki

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    So how does one test food locally in other countries outside of Japan, without very expensive 15,000 machines? From what I understand one needs this expensive machine to test food, and it has to be mashed in order to test it..

    Am I mistaken?

    Basically, that is why no one tests food or water.

    We are all guinea pigs, globally.

    Cancer rate in 1900 2-4%
    normal method of death; in sleep

    Cancer rate 2012 50% or greater
    normal method of death; cancer or other disease

    Radiation dangers in food and water


      You are correct AGreenRoad. From my research, it turns out that it is a fairly complex and elaborate process. Everyone thinks you simply wave a detector over a head of lettuce and you're safe. Wrong…

  • Lacsap Lacsap

    The radioactivity is there and will be there for a long time. Important is that who lives in Japan are in good shape to fight the radiation. Eat healthy if possible imported food and water, exercise, sleep well, spit out slime you cough up, do not keep windows closed but air the house (radiation builds up in a house).

    Also a good thing is (for everybody in the world) to disconnect your Wifi devices (use cable) and stay away from mobile phone stations (GSM UTMS) because these are hurtful for your health as well. If you have a GSM or UMTS station on your roof of your apartment or such, then i recommend to move out or remove it soon as possible.

    • Sickputer

      "do not keep windows closed but air the house (radiation builds up in a house)."

      I prefer to keep my house sealed. YMMV.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    ..the radioactivity is there forever…and accumulative.
    Many of the suggestions .. that we will offer..are not going to viable for the average citizen..like imported food and water.

  • On air right now:

    (Radiation Among Peoples of Mururoa)

  • vital1 vital1

    Testing our food for radioactive contamination is important as you can't trust your government.

    Some of you have been using your Geiger counter to test food and liquids. Geiger Counters are not sensitive enough to be of much use testing food or liquids, although it is better than nothing. Unless the food or liquid is considerably contaminated or has fallout on the surface, it won't show anything above your background level.

    If you are going to test food with a Geiger Counter, here are some suggestions to maximize a Geiger Counters ability to detect food radioactive contamination.

    Think of background radiation as noise. The lower the noise the more likely you are to hear the sound of a radioactive isotope's whisper.

    1. Find a location in your house with the lowest background levels. A brick and tile building may have twice or more higher background levels of radiation than a wooden building

    2. Don't do food testing in a basement where radon gas may have concentrated over time. Testing higher off the ground can also reduce background levels. Never do food testing on tile, granite, concrete, or brick surfaces as these have elevated levels of radiation in them.

    3. Do your testing when the local background level is lowest. This is generally just before sunrise, so the the earlier in the morning, the better.

    4. Set your Geiger counter to detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation all at once, if possible.

    5. Don't place it directly against fruit and vegetables etc., the surface contact could also contaminate your Geiger counter and prevent it from providing accurate measurements in the future. Place your Geiger counter or pancake probe as close to the food as possible. Wrap the Geiger counter or pancake probe in cling wrap, or place it in a water proof plastic bag right next to, and touching the food or liquid container.

    • vital1 vital1

      6. Use as large a quantity of the food or liquid as you can, to do the test. I try to use 1kg (2lbs)amounts. The larger the volume the more radiation will be released by a given source.

      7. Test using counts per minute setting, for a set time. Set the count test time for as long as practicable. The longer the testing time the more likely contamination will show up as a significant number of counts above your normal background. Example if you tested for ten minutes divide the number of counts by ten to get counts per minute. Compare that number with your normal background counts per minute for that day. If there is a significant difference you may have detected radioactive contamination.

      8. Build a lead testing chamber to shield out as much background radiation as you can, if possible.
      Place your Geiger counter or pancake probe in the the testing chamber with the food or liquid sample. Lead is expensive, and toxic, so use rubber gloves when handling or touching it. Once the chamber is built, seal the lead with paint or another metal cover. You can purchase sheets or rolls of lead roofing which are already painted. The walls of your testing chamber will need to be at least.

      0mm (1/3”) thick. The thicker the better.

      You really need a scintillator spectrometer to test food and liquids properly, for radioactive contamination, plus skills to work this equipment properly.

      Food contamination is specified in Becquerels per Kilogram or Litre, and numbers are tabulated in the 20 Bq to 500 Bq/kg range, depending on the isotope for food contamination.

      Two parallel Geiger counter SBM20 tubes can measure down to 2000 Bq/kg activity, which is a factor of 100 too insensitive for detecting radiation in food. A scintillator can detect radiation contaminated in food. Also the scintillator needs to be in a lead shielded environment with the food sample during testing. The lead shielding is to help screen out background.

      • vital1 vital1

        I have build an experimental lead chamber and used a Gammascout Geiger counter for testing food and liquids using the principles above to maximize its sensitivity to see what I could achieve.

        An Inspector Geiger Counter with a pancake probe would probably be more sensitive and more likely to detect radioactive food contamination.




        If any off you have any other suggestions please let us know.

        I am investigating cost effective, easy to use food testing equipment. I have found a couple units so far, ranging in price from $1,7000 to $11,000

        “Myths about Geiger Counters” a video by anti-proton, is also worth watching.



        Get the message out there on how serious the Fukushima nuclear disaster is, quickly and efficiently. You don’t need to explain anything, just distribute the lifesaver.pdf (or create your own), hand it out, mailbox it, or email it.

        Put it everywhere, libraries, notice boards, web pages, forums, Facebook,
        and tweet! Think outside the box.


      • vital1 vital1

        Corrected typo,

        The walls of your testing chamber will need to be at least 10mm (1/3”) thick. The thicker the better.

      • vital1 vital1

        If you do build a lead food testing chamber make sure you don't have the lead lid rubbing against lead creating lead dust as you open and close the lid. If lead gets on your food it is toxic.


          @vital1: wanted to thank you for this excellent post. The principles you've outlined were confirmed by earlier publications that I've come across. Good stuff…

  • wideawake wideawake

    @vital 1 & Aftershock…I 2nd that. But how heartbreaking it is to think our children/grandchildren/greatgrandchildren/etc etc..will be taught (or not!), how to carry out these horrific proceedures as part of a world wide school curriculam.. How long will it be before live/normal/healthy children will continue to be born?. Sterility in males and mass miscarriages (and of justice) to women. Will those survivors be able to live their short lives if any, carrying on their shoulders (if any !) the impossible task of Ridding the Earth of this Fucking Ginormous Mess We have (knowingly in the case of the 1%) bequethed them. Nuclear Power Plants, thousands of them, and these our beloved children we leave to you …(SIGH). For all the mothers/children in Japan/world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3DqC5c8VDQ anti Nuclear protest song written in the sixties. They were'nt listening then either. Bastards.

  • vital1 vital1


    Yes, it is bloody horrible to think that this is the case.

    We need to do food testing as you can't rely on any government to do this. You can't even trust government testing results. A group purchase of the more expensive food testing equipment is probably the best solution.

    As bio-accumulation of the radiation fallout occurs in the food chain it will be much more important to monitor all foods coming into the household. We may all need to become vegans to limit our exposure!

    I have put the Geiger Counter food testing guide info in the multiple posts above onto a single web page, so it can be easily printed out.