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Sunday 16th June 2019

Japan now faces food contamination

22nd March 2011

Due to the release of radioactive dust as steam from the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, the issue of radioactive food contamination may be quite serious.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that, while it was difficult to know how much of the radioactive material it detected in Japanese food tests originated from the country's ongoing nuclear disaster, the situation was clearly more serious than previously thought.

Peter Cordingley, a Manila-based WHO spokesman, said that it was safe to suppose that some contaminated produce was being bought and sold by people who did not realise they were eating radioactive substances.

At the same time, Japanese officials are busily assuring people that small amounts of radiation are not hazards.

The sale of raw milk and spinach from Fukushima prefecture is currently prohibited in Japan, and the government may choose to impose further restrictions.

Cordingley said that a team of WHO experts was currently studying the situation from its base in Geneva.

Experts in Japan have admitted that the Tepco nuclear complex was a disaster on a greater scale than scientists predicted.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said that the country had experienced a huge disaster, triggering major damage at a nuclear power generation plant, leaving people with very few options for dealing with the crisis.

The engineers working on the problem still have only just managed to restore electrical power to all of the plant's reactors.

Now, the partially melted reactor core will still need to be brought under control, an operation which could take weeks, if not months.

Just yesterday, China and South Korea announced they would create tougher checks around food radioactivity for food imported from Japan.

China currently did not check Japanese food for radiation, and South Korea did not check every kind of food.

Leafy green vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat all have the potential to accumulate substantial amounts of radioactive materials.

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