Yomiuri: Could less radiation in food make public feel unsafe?

Published: December 25th, 2011 at 11:57 am ET


New food safety rules require time for explanations, preparation : Editorial, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 24, 2011 [Emphasis Added]:

Stricter limits on radiation in food are meant to make the public feel safe and secure–but what if they have the opposite effect? […]

Careful attention should be paid, however, to the possibility of stricter limits instead heightening the risk of social unease.

If the new criteria are enforced, there may be many cases in which food items with “safe” radiation levels under the current limits would be found to contain “excessive” levels of radioactive cesium. It is therefore feared that shipments of foodstuffs could be suspended one after another.

The current provisional ceilings are already markedly strict as they are one-half to one-fourth the regulatory limits in the United States and European countries. [INCORRECT: See #1 Below] […]

[T]he quantity of radioactive cesium in food is certain to decline by a wide margin in the year to come. [INCORRECT: See #2 Below]

It is very important for the government to provide detailed explanations of such matters to spread accurate information about food safety among the public. […]

#1: “Current provisional ceilings are already markedly strict as they are one-half to one-fourth the regulatory limits in the United States and European countries”

EPA: New Radiation Highs in Little Rock Milk, Philadelphia Drinking Water – Forbes

EPA lumps these gamma and beta emitters together under one collective MCL [Maximum Contaminant Level], so if you’re seeing cesium-137 in your milk or water, the MCL is 3.0 picocuries per liter; if you’re seeing iodine-131, the MCL is 3.0; if you’re seeing cesium-137 and iodine-131, the MCL is still 3.0.

Japan currently allows 200 becquerels per liter of cesium in water. That equals over 5,400 picocuries per liter, or 1,800 times higher (less strict) than the US’s EPA limit.

#2: “The quantity of radioactive cesium in food is certain to decline by a wide margin in the year”

Updated: Marine Scientists Begin Cruise Off Fukushima – ScienceInsider

In an interview last night with ScienceInsider, expedition lead investigator Buesseler explained that in addition to the well-known isotopes iodine-131 and cesium-137, the cruise will measure the spread and bioaccumulation of rarer isotopes such as plutonium, strontium, and tritium, about which little is known. The extensive data set he expects to gather could take up to a year to analyze.

Fukushima’s Contamination Produces Some Surprises at Sea – NYTimes.com

The international team also collected plankton samples and small fish for study. Mr. Buesseler said there were grounds for concern about bioaccumulation of radioactive isotopes in the food chain, particularly in seaweed and some shellfish close to the plants.

See also: [intlink id=”tokyo-professor-spiders-bio-concentrated-radioactive-silver-at-1000-times-level-in-soil-ag-110m-at-1400-bqkg” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: December 25th, 2011 at 11:57 am ET


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  2. Researchers: Cesium-137 from Fukushima “not likely” to concentrate in fish as much as mercury — “Moderate buildup” might occur higher up food chain February 22, 2012
  3. WSJ: Latest food scare hits Japan — Rice over radiation limit found 60 km from meltdowns — Gov’t said previous tests were under November 17, 2011
  4. Yomiuri: Radiation fears more serious than expected — Hosono meeting almost every day with advertising agencies to discuss strategy for appealing to public March 3, 2012
  5. Yomiuri: Cesium-134 detected in plankton 600km from Fukushima just 3 months after meltdowns — Scientists say necessary to look at bioaccumulation March 18, 2012

32 comments to Yomiuri: Could less radiation in food make public feel unsafe?

  • jec jec

    Bioaccumulation in seafood is a real danger! Good someone is trying to decide what the facts are. The satellite photos in March showing the radiative fuel spewed into the ocean..those RED, GREEN and Glowing yellow hot spots in the lagoon and further–is very dangerous. How does one remove THAT from the water? No one even can find the exact locations of the debris from inside the reactors –which exploded out of all FOUR reactors..especially Reactor 3 and 4. Well R2 and R1–they have screens up..so who knows.

    Happy New Year. Hope in the spirit of the season, TEPCO decides to share the real story of the contamination. Maybe they will write a “best seller?’ Someone will make really big bucks on that story! A come clean eye opening event!

  • Bobby1

    #1, true in the sense that Japanese limits are far higher than EPA limits, but America is now using FDA limits which are much higher than Japanese ones.

    #2, cesium levels are certain to increase by a wide margin, not only because of the continuing emissions from the plant, but because the cesium deposited in forests spreads to farmland by the action of wind and rain.

    • Enenews Admin

      Do you have sources/links for:
      – “America is now using FDA limits”
      – “FDA limits […] are much higher than Japanese ones”

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Good question, admin.

        It really helps when we can all see the sources of new information as it comes in.

        Hey everyone, let’s all cite our sources wherever possible.


        • aigeezer aigeezer

          Me too, but we’d better be careful what we wish for, lest industry interpret it as a pent-up demand for new products.

        • stock stock@hawaii.rr.com

          Exactly, if we are all just ranting without supporting facts, the goal of shutting down nuclear will fall on deaf ears.

      • Bobby1


        The cesium limit is 1200 Bq/kg… Japan is 500 and they are reducing it to 100.

        Forbes is not working here & I thought Jeff McMahon’s blog had info on FDA vs EPA.

        • Bobby1

          “The Philadelphia sample is below the EPA’s maximum contaminant level (MCL) for iodine-131 in water, but the Little Rock sample is almost three times higher. However, the Food and Drug Administration observes a much higher standard for milk, and all milk samples collected so far are well below that level.

          Nonetheless, the EPA does not consider the milk dangerous because the MCL is set for long-term exposure, and the iodine-131 from Japan’s Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident is expected to be temporary and deteriorate rapidly.”


          AFAIK, the EPA tests only air, drinking water, and milk. And the quote implies they are using the FDA standard for milk. It’s the FDA that tests all other foods.

        • jimbojamesiv


          Do you know if this is a “new” rule about Cesium, as in was it recently increased to 1,200 bq/kg, and my second question is why did Fuku spew so much cesium, as opposed to other radionuclides? I’m sure this is something I could google, but could anyone spare me the effort?

          • Bobby1

            I don’t think this is a new rule, maybe someone has better info than me though.

            Cesium is volatile and is released at a lower temperature than other radionuclides. That Fuku released cesium at a higher amount wasn’t unexpected. What was unexpected is that it is still releasing iodine. My thyroid-o-meter is on the uptick again today.

  • many moons

    I would rather eat food that contained shit than radioactivity.

  • arclight arclight

    CERRIE Majority Report says
    Dose is meaningless

    “….. There are important concerns with respect to the heterogeneity of dose delivery within tissues and cells from short-range charged particle emissions, the extent to which current models adequately represent such interactions with biological targets, and the specification of target cells at risk. Indeed, the actual concepts of absorbed dose become questionable, and sometimes meaningless, when considering interactions at the cellular and molecular levels.
    (CERRIE Majority Report Chapter 2.1 paragraph 11).”


  • aigeezer aigeezer

    I hope this is an appropriate comment for this thread, since many people are doing the turkey/cranberry thing today.

    If you are of a certain age, you may remember there was a huge scare about strontium 90 in cranberries as a result of nuclear weapons testing. I haven’t heard such talk in decades, but I don’t know whether the strontium 90 went away or only the talk went away.

    The link below gives a version of the news items from “way back then”. It tells of the strontium 90 scare generally, but says the cranberry scare was pesticide related. My memory says the cranberry scare was strontium 90 based. Either way, it is worth reflecting on:


    I haven’t found any contemporary data on safety issues and the cranberry industry.

  • ZombiePlanet ZombiePlanet

    It is indeed a sad day when such a statement is presented as a logical argument concerning human health, globally.

    “Could less radiation in food make public feel unsafe?”

    That’s like saying “Could more house fires make the public feel safer?”

    Is this Yomiuri person a zombie, or what?

  • OK, let’s follow this logically.. If less radiation will make people feel unsafe, then having ZERO Bq’s of radiation in food, water and milk will REALLY FREAK PEOPLE OUT…

    Oh MY GOD, where are we going to get our daily dose of health giving radiation? I cannot smile without my radiation dosing.

    How is my brain going to function without plutonium and uranium in all of the nooks and crannies?

    People will no longer be able to function at all. We better start paying the nuke plants to start releasing MORE radiation to make up for all of the radiation we are missing out on…

    Seriously though, he does make a good point. If they lower the ‘safe’ radiation dose for food and water, and radiation levels do not come down, then they will either have to stop all testing or declare large regions unsafe for raising food, drinking water, fishing, crops, etc.

    By the way, why are they not doing that NOW?

    • arclight arclight


      Parents wary of Fukushima village schools Dec. 26, 2011

      “The survey was conducted by anonymous questionnaire in November. Eighty-eight people with 147 children responded. The children comprised 80 primary school students, 34 middle school students and 33 day care attendees.
      Only 26 children, or 18 percent, had parents who said they would allow them to attend the schools: 12 primary school students, seven middle school students and seven in the day care center.
      This included the parents of eight children–five primary school students, a middle school student and two in the day care center–who said they would allow their children to attend on condition that decontamination was properly done.
      The evacuation zone was dissolved at the end of September.,,,,”

      AND THIS

      “…About 40 percent of the 227 children evacuated to Koriyama in the prefecture, and the rest fled to other places inside and outside the prefecture.

      The village government transferred its functions to Koriyama.
      Currently Kawauchimura’s schools and day care center operate in borrowed space in schools in Koriyama and other locations.”


      • arclight arclight

        Internally Displaced Persons: Guide to Legal Information Resources on the Web repost

        By Elisa Mason
        August 2011*

        “According to the United Nations, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are “persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border” (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 1998, Introduction, para. 2).

        Because the flight described in the definition is internal, national authorities are responsible for providing protection to people displaced in their own countries. However, over time the humanitarian community has come to recognize that IDPs “are often in need of special protection, not least because the government responsible for protecting them is sometimes unwilling or unable to do so, or may itself be the cause of displacement (Brun 2005, 3).


        • arclight arclight

          Caldicott also wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed:

          “Children are innately sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation, fetuses even more so. Like Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima is of global proportions. Unusual levels of radiation have been discovered in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.”


  • nuckelchen nuckelchen

    hello dear tepco-schmocks !

    what means *unsafe*?

    unsafe is sex without condom in the meaning of aids.
    unsafe is to hold the truth about a nuclear accident down.
    unsafe is to let work peoples there like their lifes will be nothing.
    unsafe is to make a smaller eva-zone as the direct nuke clouds would coming down.
    unsafe is to drink contaminated water in the function as a politicle to demonstrade the safeness and getting sick after it.
    unsafe is to cook and eat conta-food from the death-zones in japans tv and getting sick after it.
    unsafe is to keep smilling as an emperor until the own family get cancer.
    unsafe is to declare a multi exploded and melting and cooking and no-way-to-handle-it-in-anyway nuclear power plant as an coldshutdown.
    unsafe is to spread the nuclear debris around the hole island of japan and to contaminate more of the island.
    unsafe is to let burn the highest nuke debris in the rubbish-burning-hall in the middle of tokio.
    unsafe is to buy all the rights of the thousends of pictures from the free-satellites, that had paid WE buy our tax.
    unsafe is as an chief from the fukushima daiichi nuclear powerplant to becoming cancer after telling months “everythings fine”.
    unsafe is to let sit thousends of birds night’n day on the top of the tent from nr 1 and let them so produce millions of flying nuke guano, the most evil contamination acid product ever.
    unsafe is to fix a pipebreak with gaffertape (and much unsafer is to forget the rest to the tape in the pipe).
    unsafe is to pitch the radiation levels for your own citizens up like it would be ur stupid nikkei.
    unsafe is to overload a spentfuel with a metall under construction with 500% and more.
    unsafe is to declare a reactor 4 as empty and clool downed and say then thats there had been a core meltdown.
    unsafe is to deal with areva.
    unsafe is tepco.
    unsafe is nuke at all.
    and 🙂
    unsafe is my old school-english too.
    but 🙂 🙂
    safe is that all are facts!

    MUCH LOVE 4…

  • nuckelchen nuckelchen