For Japan Locust Eaters, A Plague of Cesium?, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 13, 2012:
[... L]ocusts are a bounty for the insect eaters of rice-producing regions like Nagano, Chiba and the towns of the northeast hit hardest by the March 11 disasters.
But Hajime Fugo, the vice president of Tokyo University of Agriculture of Technology and a physiologist specializing in insects [...] along with two students, in October went to Iitate, a village located over 30 kilometers away from the nuclear plant and where hot spots of high radiation have been discovered. [...]
About 4,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 and cesium-137 was detected in the grasshoppers, all 500 weighing a cumulative one kilogram. The levels far exceed Japan’s regulatory limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
Mr. Fugo said the results were astonishing. [...]
The Journal notes Fugo is “concerned the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident may swat the critter off the country’s bug-eating menu, [and] is conducting research designed to save the tasty tradition” and “worried the locust-eating tradition may fall into extinction should
connoisseurs shun the bug amid deepening anxiety among consumers”.
Keep that in mind when reading about how “the scientist thinks it is safe to eat the bugs because they are usually in snack-sized portions”.
Published: January 13th, 2012 at 9:52 am ET