A presentation given at a recent American Chemical Society meeting outlined the discovery of Fukushima radioactive contamination in food soon after the disaster. Private sector testing done for food importers in the US did find contamination in some food items sent in for testing. Since this work was done with a private lab by a food company there was no mandate to make this information public.
One sample of imported fresh fish from Japan intended for sushi was found to have iodine 131. A sample of Koji powder was also found to be contaminated. The koji sample had not just iodine 131 but cobolt 60, radioactive silver, tellurium 132, cesium 134 and cesium 137. Contamination was also found in imported green tea samples and seaweed. The samples were below the US intervention level, but the intervention level isn’t a safety limit and it far higher than most consider safe.
The samples this private lab tested, they state that the import shipments found to be contaminated in these cases were sent back or destroyed. This testing shows a number of things of concern. Contaminated food was being shipped to the US. While these individual shipments from these food companies that hired this one lab for testing were not sent to market, others likely did. Companies that didn’t bother with doing their own testing or that were less principled may have sent these kinds of contaminated foods to market because they were below the FDA legal limits for sale.
More information on the company that did the testing:
The power point presentation given at the ACS meeting:
image credit | The Simpsons
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