Print 17 comment(s) - last by Omega215D.. on Mar 23 at 8:09 PM

Officials have noted that the levels found in the food and water are not dangerous, but need to be banned because they are above government limits

Japan's 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11 has left plenty of destruction in its wake including tsunami waves, nuclear problems, and a death toll that could exceed 18,000

While troubles with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in particular have become manageable, the World Health Organization (WHO) has pointed out a potentially harmful side effect of the radiation in Japan: contaminated food.

Recent reports have noted that radiation levels in Japan "remain safe," but WHO worries that radioactive particles have contaminated food and water in areas near and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  

"Quite clearly it's a serious situation," said Peter Cordingley, spokesman for WHO's regional office for the Western Pacific. "It's a lot more serious than anybody thought in the early days when we thought that this kind of problem can be limited to 20 to 30 kilometers. It's safe to suppose that some contaminated produce got out of the contamination zone."

In response, Japan has stopped the sale of spinach from the Ibaraki Prefecture and raw milk from the Fukushima Prefecture due to radioactive iodine and cesium found in both. Locally grown crops have been banned as well.  

"From reports I have heard so far, it seems that the levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in milk and some foodstuffs are significantly higher than government limits," said Jim Smith, a specialist in earth and environmental science's at Portsmouth University. "This doesn't mean that consumption of these products is necessarily an immediate threat, as limits are set so that foodstuffs can be safely consumed over a fairly long period of time. Nevertheless, for foodstuffs which are found to be above limits, bans on sale and consumption will have to be put in place in the affected areas."

In addition, the health ministry of Japan has warned those near the plant to avoid drinking tap water as well, which contains high levels of radioactive iodine.  

Officials have noted that the levels found in food and water are not dangerous, but need to be banned if they are above government limits. Food imported from Japan will be monitored.

The ban will likely affect farmers who depend on income generated from both prefectures.

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RE: Iodine 131 has a short half life
By MeesterNid on 3/21/2011 1:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that's a fine advice, but my milk goes bad in waaaay less than 40 days...not to mention the spinach.

RE: Iodine 131 has a short half life
By mianmian on 3/21/2011 2:03:36 PM , Rating: 3
Then do not milk the cow in 40 days. :)

RE: Iodine 131 has a short half life
By Iridium130m on 3/21/2011 2:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
ugh, the poor cows!

By Smartless on 3/21/2011 2:50:17 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah imagine if you had to hold it for 40 days. And cows randomly start exploding across northern Japan. Terrorists suspected.

In any case, at least Japan doesn't export a whole lot of their crops. I just hope our aid reaches them since North Japan supplies a lot of the country's food.

RE: Iodine 131 has a short half life
By boobo on 3/21/2011 2:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, but your milk hasn't been nuclear-pasteurized ;)

By Omega215D on 3/23/2011 8:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
The expiration date on that should rival those of Twinkies!

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