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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Canada won't test for radiation in milk

5th April 2011

Health authorities in Canada have decided not to measure the amount of iodine-131 in milk for the time being, despite the fact that the radioactive substance has already been detected in California's dairy products.


The news came as Japanese officials admitted that it could take months before radioactive leaks from the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant die down.

Alice Danjou, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said that there would be no testing of Canadian milk for signs of radioiodine, and that current levels of exposure to radioactive material posed absolutely no risk to people, plants or animals in Canada.

However, Robin Smith, executive director of the BC Milk Producers Association, said he believed that the Canadian health authorities were responding appropriately, since they did not make any effort to prove their assertions about the harmlessness of Canadian milk.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently announced that it had found traces of iodine-131 in the state of Washington, bordered on the north by Canada.

Smith said that milk was a very big industry in Canada, and that his association wanted to know whether or not Canadian milk had radioiodine.

He said that his association tried hard to set strict limits on the quality and safety of milk, banning the use of antibiotics and hormones.

Danjou said that government officials were monitoring the situation and were prepared to take further action if it became necessary.

Every year, Canada usually imports about 3,000 kilos of Japanese dairy products.

This year, however, the Canadian health authorities do not plan to allow the products to enter the Canadian market without being tested.

Just this week, after releasing 10,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean, emergency workers at the stricken nuclear power plant were so worried about a newly discovered leak that they dumped ink into the water in an effort to trace the path of the contamination.

In northern Europe and all over the USA, countries have begun detecting airborne signs of radioactive iodine, and levels of radiation in California recently surpassed limits set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Mike Bandrowski, chief of indoor air and radiation for the EPA's regional coverage in California, said that the amount of radioactive material currently found in California exceeded the EPA’s maximum contaminant level.

He said that the radiation would take several months to decay.

Recently, emergency workers at the plant have been trying to plug a stream of highly radioactive water using sawdust, shredded newspaper and absorbent powder.

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