News: Japanese Food Safety Following 3/11

There’s a great deal of concern about the safety of Japanese food in the wake of radiation leaks from the Fukushima reactors damaged in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. As pointed out over at Japan Probe, these fears are being exacerbated by poor and misleading reporting of the situation, not to mention a Japanese public with little faith in their government:

“The article’s author … made no attempt to verify the statement. She just included the quote and left readers to guess about whether the Japanese government was really hiding “the truth” about radiation. Since there are few English language articles that adequately explain the food testing system, many readers may have assumed the Japanese government wasn’t releasing food safety data.

“In fact, the Japanese government is releasing food safety data. Hundreds of tests are conducted each day and results are released to the general public.

Japan Probe

Further, one of the most symbolically important tests of radiation levels in Japanese food is underway, and the results are very heartening, and have been widely broadcast. From the NHK World website:

Radioactive tests on rice have been completed in more than half of the Tohoku and Kanto regions, and radioactive cesium has been detected in 4 percent of the samples. But the highest level detected so far is about a quarter of the government’s safety limit.

NHK World.

I don’t think anyone was expecting a complete lack of radiation to be found in the rice surrounding the Fukushima area, so it’s good news that the level of radiation is so low, and is found in so few of the samples that are being taken. There is still the aspect of whether or not you believe in the accuracy of the government’s findings and whether or not you are terribly confident in the government, and that comes down to the individual.

I’m headed out to Japan in November, and I have to same that I’m not particularly worried about the safety of the food because of the reports like these.

– Chris

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