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Japanese government wants you to eat radioactive food: Part IV

May 9, 2012

A whale being hunted by the Japanese. This is conducted under the guise of “research,” but the meat ends up on dinner tables all over Japan. Source: The Guardian

This is part IV of a special series of articles. For part III click here.

The Japanese government did not ban all radioactive food, just food over certain limits (500 Bq/kg which is now revised to 100 Bq/kg as of April 1, 2012). This means that food with measurable levels of radiation was sold in untold quantities to an infinite number of people. As the scandals erupted one after the other, the average Japanese began to wonder if the food was safe. This is probably the biggest reason for the collapse in consumer confidence, not “foreign media” or other conspiracy theory nonsense pedaled as fact by a government and media eager to shift the blame for their failures on non-Japanese.

In June 2011, for example, the Japanese caught 17 whales. When they looked at 6 of them, they found “31 becquerels and 24.3 becquerels of radioactive caesium per kilogram in the two whales” (see here). They were caught off the island of Hokkaido, 650 km away from the Fukushima plant. This is not exactly good news. It shows the Japanese justification for whaling (labelled “research”) is a pretty poor one. Why test only 6 of 17 whales if the research is needed? Those other whales might have had radiation in them too. At 31 Bq/kg, they would have passed both the old and new standards on food safety. Did people eat that radioactive meat?

The problem is not isolated to mammals, but is in fish. The Japanese only report figures for caesuim-137 and iodine (which is not present anyway) in the fish tests they conduct. But that does not mean there is no strontium-90. If serious studies were done on fish by the Japanese government, the results might not be good. Even the highly criticised and clearly inadequate studies they are carrying out only serve to show that the majority of fish & sea life tested contain measurable levels of radiation. Fish may not have iodine, but do they have strontium? This is not fear mongering. It is asking a question that must be answered for consumer safety and to restore confidence in the food system.

To be continued in Part V.

Civis Journal


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