Farmers groups in Fukushima have set a much higher standard for rice contamination than the national government. Rice with any level over 5 bq/kg will not be sold, 5 bq/kg being the lowest level detectable with testing equipment. Some in the government are asking for all food to be tested and labeled with the radiation level. The Health Ministry has rejected this as being impossible to do but is considering some changes to contamination limits.
Some grocery stores and food retailers have set their own much lower limits and are buying selectively. The government early on tried a tactic of denial and hoping that people would just give in to the high levels of radiation in food as the “new normal” but that has not happened. Food anxiety persists and consumers would rather go out of their way to find food that is not contaminated than just give in to the government policy.
With farmers having their businesses at risk the co-op or group standards model adopted by Fukushima rice farmers may be the most efficient approach to restoring consumer confidence and keeping contaminated food out of the food supply.
Read more at Business Week
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