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Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council Establishes First Food Testing Lab for Japanese Food Imports

Taiwan communicates on the control of foodstuffs from Japan. I note that these are the same limits, concerning Cesium, in the European Union … (according to the last regulation dated 13/07/2017).
In the EU, it’s been a long time since Iodine 131 is no longer controlled.
The article does not mention “other foodstuffs”, for which the maximum import limit in the EU is 100 Bq / kg.

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AEC lab to test food imports for radiation

The AEC said the new facility can test up to 1,700 samples per month and would run tests on food samples sent by customs offices in northern Taiwan

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday announced that it has established the nation’s first food testing laboratory for radioactive contamination in response to calls from civic groups following last year’s public hearings on the issue of Japanese food imports.

The facility is the first of its kind to obtain certification from the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF), AEC Department of Radiation Protection Director-General Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙) said.

The council had already been testing food products for radiation, but the new laboratory would be a separate branch entirely dedicated to testing food, Liu said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s plan to lift a ban on food imports from Japan’s Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures led to a public outcry, amid fears that food from these areas were affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.

At the public hearings, many experts and civic groups questioned the capability of the nation’s ability to detect radioactive contamination in food products.

The council said it receives about 1,400 food samples from the ministry each month and that the new laboratory would be able test up to 1,700 samples per month.

The council received 2,200 food samples in a single month following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, but the monthly average of food samples received for the rest of 2011 was about 1,600, Liu said.

The number of samples sent to the council has not increased significantly over the past few years, the council added.

The new laboratory in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) is equipped with five high-purity germanium detectors and employs 12 specialists, increasing resources by one detector and two staff members, Liu said, adding that the laboratory will be testing samples sent by the customs offices in northern Taiwan.

A smaller laboratory run by the council in Kaohsiung tests samples from Taichung and Kaohsiung ports, and is waiting for TAF certification for food testing, he added.

The ministry has determined the maximum allowable level of radioactive residue in foods for three isotopes — iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 — in the Standards for the Tolerance of Atomic Dust and Radioactivity Contamination in Foods (食品中原子塵或放射能污染容許量標準).

For dairy products and baby foods, the limit is set at 55 becquerels (Bq) of iodine-131, 50Bq of cesium-134 and 50Bq of cesium-137 per kilogram of food, while beverages and bottled water can contain up to 100Bq of iodine-131, 10Bq of cesium-134 or 10Bq of cesium-137 per liter.

As iodine-131 and cesium-134 have shorter half lives, the council is more concerned with cesium-137 contamination in food imported from Japan, Liu said.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/08/01/2003675708

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Taiwan | , | Leave a comment

KMT vows to challenge Japan food imports with referendum

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Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said on Thursday he will officially submit a proposal for the holding of a national referendum on food safety if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration lifts a ban on the import of food products from radiation-affected prefectures in Japan.

The proposal has obtained more than 120,000 signatures, Hau said.

In addition, if the DPP government opens Taiwan’s market to ractopamine-containing pork from the United States, the KMT will mobilize the public to protest at customs offices, he said.

Under the Referendum Act, the authorization of a referendum requires that no less than 0.5 percent of the total electorate at the last presidential election sign a petition.

Because there were 18.78 million eligible voters at the last election on Jan. 16, 2016, Hau’s proposal needs to be supported by at least 93,900 signatures and then approved by the Referendum Review Committee.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan – Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi – that were contaminated by radiation following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food from all the prefectures except Fukushima, but has run into virulent public opposition.
http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201704060017.aspx#.WOhNDdKzEuk.facebook

April 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembering 6th Anniversary of Fukushima March.11.2017

Fukushima is never going away.
Sheila Parks
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Kimberly Roberson, speaking as a parent and an activist/organizer does not mince her words. They are heart, mind and soul piercing. She is in our faces about the horrific dangers of nuclear power – especially for our babies and children. Her purpose is to inform and rouse to action all those not already involved and aware. “Startling clear to me: radioactive fallout from nuclear power and food do not mix, and children are especially at risk”.But as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caregivers we have a responsibility to our children. And remember, radiation from nuclear fallout is transgenerational, meaning that it has been proven to damage DNA for generations to come. The bigger picture after all is really about food safety and human health.

I marked every page in the book as I was reading. I am focusing on food in this review because that is a major issue for both Roberson and me. What are we doing to our babies and children when we give them milk? Alarmed, I read from Roberson that “strontium 90 has been detected in the U.S. milk supply, as well as other radioisotopes linked directly to Fukushima”.Radioactive strontium is attracted to the body, much like calcium, only rather than nourishing bones it causes cancer. Children’s cells divide and multiply at an accelerated pace which makes the youngest especially vulnerable to radiation.”

Roberson tells us, “The late Dr. Rosalie Bertell, PhD and Gray Nun of the Sacred Heart was an accomplished scientist who warned in No Immediate Danger; Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth not only of the damage to the person coming in contact with radioactive fallout in their food and water, but also to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren suffering mutations in their DNA as well.”

Roberson continues, again alarmingly, “Probably the one question that perplexed so many of the people I was working with was how could the biggest industrial and nuclear accident in world history be allowed to continue to affect our food supply unchecked .” [emphasis mine]. That continues to this day.

Roberson puts it this way, “One thing I’ve realized in the past two years is to always consider the source”The list goes on and on. Grass fed beef, free range poultry, miso [see the paper I wrote about miso “Fukushima, Miso Soup and Me” ], nori, strawberries”pesky questions, but we all need to be asking them.” Begin today, now, all the time, to ask this question about everything you eat and drink. This is urgent: what is the country of origin?

From my experience working on the many issues about food and drink safety since Fukushima, here are some questions we must understand and work to change since Fukushima: What food and drink does the USA import from Japan? How was and is our food here in the USA contaminated from Fukushima? Who tests the food in each country, including the USA? How do they test it? Is how the food is tested adequate? Who decides? How honest are our labelling laws? [Not honest at all; but that requires a whole other paper.] Thank goodness the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been defeated by the actions of we the people and as immoral and misleading as our food labeling laws are here in the USA, at least it willl still be mandatory to put counrty of origin on our food. What Trump will do, who is now talking about “binary arrangements” instead of the TTP, remains to be seen.

Be wary also, Roberson warns us, of “fish oil, carrageenan, and sea salt [which] all come from ocean waters.” I say, please read all labels. Use pink salt from the Himalayas, not sea salt. This pink salt from the Himalayas sometimes is called sea salt – but from oceans millions of years ago. I eat nothing from the ocean. There is really only one ocean. Look at any map. You might want to read a paper I have written called “The Pacific Ocean Does Not Belong to Japan: It Belongs to All of Us.”

Also pay attention to iodine and where it comes from, continues Roberson. Iodine often comes from kelp “but where is the kelp sourced? Much of the kelp spanning the California coastline has shown significantly increased levels of Iodine-131 since Fukushima began. Not exactly the kind of iodine I want in children’s gummy vitamins.”

While we are here talking about food and drink, note also that most non-mercury fillings that your dentist puts in your mouth come from Japan!!! As does most bonding material at your dentist’s office. Instead, there is a company in Germany – Grandio – where dentists, not you, can get non-mercury fillings. Please ask your dentist to do so for you.

Since Fukushima, I myself do not knowingly eat or drink any food or beverages that come from Japan. My first question about anything that goes into my mouth always is – what is the country or countries of origin? I am an organic vegan now, since Fukushima, and before that was an organic vegetarian for 40 years. For those who eat organic, Roberson notes, “And trust me, radioactive fallout does not distinguish if it lands on conventional or organic items. You may be asking why is radioactive fallout alllowed in organic food but irradiation is not? The answer is because the regulations are not yet in place to test from nuclear accidents and nuclear power production. That clearly needs to change.” She wrote Silence Deafening; Fukushima Fallout, A Mother’s Response in 2013. It is now 2016. Nothing has changedI love this from Roberson, “Perhaps Dr. Seuss said it best in The Lorax, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

On my birthday two years ago, before I read Roberson’s book, I went to the Dr. Zeuss museum in Springfield, MA and read that quote there for the first time and bought myself a Lorax then. Consider buying a Lorax for a constant reminder and keep her with you = in mind, heart, body, soul. You can buy a Lorax through The Manhattan Toy Store.

A final truth telling from prophet Roberson, “Another lesson learned. Much of what happens to protect our food and water or anything else for that matter starts with us.”

LEASE SIGN FFAN’S [FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT AWARENESS NETWORK] URGENT PETITION No Olympics or Paralympics in Radioactive Fukushima “Children are our most beloved and cherished gift and they are also the most vulnerable to the generational damage of man-made radiation in air, food, soil and water. Around the world children who are currently adolescent and possibly younger are in training to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Japan. Their parents most likely have no idea that some of the venues are near the most devastating and ongoing nuclear and industrial disaster in world history, Fukushima Daiichi.

Sheila Parks, Ed.D., is a former college professor. She had a spiritual awakening many years ago and left her career to do peace and justice work full time. She is the founder of the grassroots group On Behalf of Planet Earth (found on FB).

http://portside.org/2017-03-27/remembering-6th-anniversary-fukushima-march112017

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

A Campaign to Tackle “Misinformation” about Radioactive Contamination

Masahiro Imamura, Minister for Reconstruction, wants to launch a large-scale campaign, to correct the incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture; as an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination” crippling Fukushima foods. That means more propaganda to come, more lies to hide the real risks of radiation to the people’s health. As if propaganda, to brainwash the people with a large-scale campaign would be the solution to make radiation disappear.

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Reconstruction chief Masahiro Imamura

Reconstruction chief praises efforts in Tohoku, flags information campaign on radiation risks

Minister for reconstruction Masahiro Imamura has praised efforts to rebuild the devastated Tohoku region but says a large-scale information campaign is needed to share accurate information about radiation six years after the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Imamura outlined the plan in a recent interview in response to what he said was incorrect information about radioactive contamination of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products from Fukushima Prefecture.

It also comes as a growing number of children who evacuated from the prefecture fall victim to bullying.

Massive amounts of radioactive substances were emitted from the plant soon after it was knocked out by massive tsunami from the 9.0-magnitude March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, which hit hardest in Fukushima and the nearby prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate.

Asked about the degree of progress in reconstructing areas hit by the disaster, Imamura said, “Acquisition of land and other procedures needed for the restoration of damaged infrastructure initially took time, but the pace of construction work was very rapid once it was launched.”

From now, we should focus on the rebuilding of Fukushima,” he said, noting that medium- to long-term measures should be promoted, including decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant and decontaminating areas polluted with radioactive fallout.

We want to encourage evacuees to return to their hometowns in Fukushima by presenting future visions for the communities through improving the living environment and accelerating the revival of local industries,” Imamura added.

On how to tackle the incidences of bullying targeting evacuated Fukushima children, Imamura said, “We’ll strengthen information-sharing about radiation. All government agencies should jointly work to compile and launch a campaign for that purpose, while obtaining cooperation from private companies.

This is an issue for not only children, but adults,” he said. “We’ll prepare documents and other materials that are easy to understand in order to eliminate prejudice against evacuated people.”

Imamura said the campaign would also be an effort to tackle the issue of “misinformation about radioactive contamination crippling Fukushima foods.”

I’ll seek cooperation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well,” he said.

Imamura said he believed the Reconstruction Agency’s efforts to date to rebuild areas affected by the March 2011 disaster have been praised to a certain degree. Still, he pointed to the importance of re-examining whether information on what affected areas need has been properly conveyed to the Reconstruction Agency and other government bodies.

Imamura said Japan’s aging population and low birthrate were also contributing to shrinking communities across the nation — something he described as a structural problem.

It’s important to build a system that generates profits through stepped-up use of information technology and the modernization of factory equipment, even if human resources are limited,” he said.

We need to check again whether communities will be able to smoothly help one another in times of disaster, although lessons from the March 2011 disaster were effectively utilized in a series of powerful earthquakes that mainly hit Kumamoto Prefecture in April last year, and the October 2016 strong quake in Tottori Prefecture,” Imamura added.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/21/national/reconstruction-chief-praises-efforts-tohoku-flags-information-campaign-radiation-risks/#.WNJEq6KmnIV

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017, spinbuster | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Expanded Japanese Fish Ban Over Fukushima Contamination

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South Korea, on Friday, expanded its ban on Japanese fisheries products over concerns of contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The government in Seoul accuses Japan of not providing enough information on the crisis.

Consumption of fish products in South Korea has dropped sharply in recent weeks as concerns grow that workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi NPP struggle to contain leaks.

Fukushima Daiichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitted that “up to 300 tons of mildly contaminated groundwater is making its way into the Pacific Ocean every day”; a situation that has been going on for years. Moreover, TEPCO recently admitted that “highly toxic water made its way into the Pacific Ocean”.

South Korea previously imposed an import ban on dozens of Japanese fisheries products produced in Fukushima and sever other prefectures following the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP following a massive earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in 2011.

The government in Seoul has now widened the ban to all fisheries products from Fukushima prefecture as well as the prefectures of  Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, Chiba and Aomori. South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries issued a statement stressing that:

The measure comes as our people’s concerns are growing over the fact that hundreds of tons of radiation-contaminated water leak every day from the site of Japan’s nuclear accident in Fukushima. … The government has concluded that the information provided by Japan so far has failed to make it clear how the incident will develop in the future. … Under the new measure, all fisheries products from this region will be banned regardless of whether they are contaminated or not.”

The Ministry also urged the government in Tokyo to immediately provide full and accurate information on leaks of contaminated water. A growing number of radiation and environmental health experts stress that the claim that dilution of the radioactive water in the “vast Pacific Ocean” would make it safe to ingest fish caught off shore is right-out wrong and misleading because:

  • The bio accumulation of radioactive nuclei in fish;

  • The ingestion of one single isotope may, depending on what isotope it is and where it is lodged in the human body, cause various forms of cancer.

  • Eating fish from a batch that passed a “Geiger counter” test is in other words still like “participating in a fishy cancer lottery”.

However, in Tokyo on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga challenged South Korea over the ban and claimed:

We are carrying out strict safe management on foods, including fishery products, based on international standards. We would like the South Korean government to respond, based on scientific evidence.”

What Suga conveniently omitted was that Japan, following the nuclear disaster in 2011, changed its regulations – apparently because Japanese experts suddenly realized that the human body (and the Japanese economy) can “safely tolerate much higher doses” than thought before the disaster. Moreover, the contamination in Japan is according to many independent observers so bad that one would have to probe each single food item separately to be “relatively safe”.

Earlier this week Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged global concerns over the “haphazard” management of the crisis by TEPCO and said his administration will step in with public money to get the job done. Abe didn’t specify how this “public money” should be spent, how much will be made available, how Japan wants to end the “haphazard approach” to the crisis, and maybe most importantly, who the recipient of this money would be.

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In November 2015 former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games over together.

In May 2016 private activists in Japan accused Tokyo of “cooking data”. Radiation readings conducted by private activists, 40 km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility are about eight to ten times higher than those published by authorities, said Yoichi Tao who majored in physics.

Research by Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, showing that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014 is being dismissed as based on “over diagnosing”.

Moreover, Japan has introduced strict legislation that can be used to put anyone who publishes not officially approved data about Fukushima or anyone who “leaks” information rather than radiation behind bars for up to ten years. This includes investigative journalists.

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In 2014 independent journalists like Mako Oshidori received a thinly-veiled threat from TEPCO when she reported about the death of Fukushima cleanup workers, and who stressed she was “intimidated by police“. Mako courageously reported that she discovered a TEPCO memo, in which the Fukushima Daiichi operator TEPCO instructs officials to “cut Mako-chan’s (questions) short, appropriately”. Mako Oshidori was enrolled in the School of Life Sciences at Tottori University Faculty of Medicine for three years.

Mako revealed that TEPCO and the government cover-up the death of Fukushima workers and that government agents began following her around after she began investigating the cover-up. Mako said:

I heard about it from researchers who were my friends as well as some government officials. I will show you a photo I secretly took of the agent, so you know what kind of surveillance I mean. When I would talk to someone, a surveillance agent from the central government’s public police force would come very close, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation….

I would like to talk about my interview of a nurse who used to work at (the) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) after the accident. .. He was a nurse at Fukushima Daiichi NPP in 2012. He quit his job with TEPCO in 2013, and that’s when I interviewed him. …

As of now of now, there are multiple NPP workers who have died, but only the ones who died on the job are reported publicly. Some of them have died suddenly while off work, for instance, during the weekend or in their sleep, but none of their deaths are reported. …

Not only that, they are not included in the worker death count. For example, there are some workers who quit the job after a lot of radiation exposure, such as 50, 60 to 70 mili Sieverts, and end up dying a month later, but none of these deaths are either reported, or included in the death toll. This is the reality of the NPP workers”.

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TEPCO memo, advising to “cut short” Mako Oshidori’s questions, e.t.c

 

However, the new legislation that “empowered” the government to impose ten year prison sentences for “unauthorized” journalism and dissemination of unauthorized information about the Fukushima Daiichi NPP and related issues for reasons of “national security” has since then largely silenced Mako, and many other journalists, experts in health, environmental health, environmental studies, radiation studies …

Is Seoul “over reacting” and is Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga right when he claims: “We are carrying out strict safe management on foods, including fishery products, based on international standards. We would like the South Korean government to respond, based on scientific evidence”? What evidence, sampled by whom, analyzed on the basis of ???  . …

https://nsnbc.me/2017/03/18/south-korea-expanded-japanese-fish-ban-over-fukushima-contamination/

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan urged by China to deal with Fukushima-affected food

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Officers from the Beijing Food and Drug Administration check imported food at a supermarket on Thursday.

Report finds many e-commerce sites selling potentially unsafe products

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has urged the Japanese government to take more effective measures to handle the environmental aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and disclose information to ensure marine environmental safety and the safety of people in other countries.

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the comment on Thursday following exposure by China’s State television station that food products from areas affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan are being sold in China.

China’s top food regulator promised on Thursday to punish such irregularities involving food safety exposed in China Central Television’s annual World Consumer Rights Day program on Wednesday.

“We have demanded local food and drug supervision authorities investigate the irregularities and transfer criminal suspects to public security authorities,” the China Food and Drug Administration said.

Food and drug authorities must strengthen supervision over food safety and severely punish culprits, it said.

Food from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster have been sold on many e-commerce platforms in China and in some brick-and-mortar shops, including dairy, cereal, rice and wine, CCTV reported.

Although some of the products had labeling in Japanese that specified manufacturing locations such as Tokyo and Tochigi, they were covered by Chinese labels that only stated the manufacturing location as Japan, the report said.

China has banned the importation of food and animal feed from Tokyo and 11 prefectures, including Fukushima, Niigata-ken and Tochigi, since April 2011 to guard against risks, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Major supermarkets and e-commerce platforms in Beijing started to inspect imported food products following the CCTV report and found no product from any of the 12 areas, Ji Ye, an official at Beijing Food and Drug Administration, said.

The administration is also conducting inspections of food enterprises in Beijing, including MUJI and 7-Eleven, and will recall any product that is imported from the affected areas, he said.

More than 13,000 online shops in China were suspected of selling food from these banned areas, according to the Shenzhen Market and Quality Supervision Commission, CCTV reported.

Law enforcement officers from the commission found nearly 20,000 packages of “Calbee” brand oatmeal, which is from Tochigi, at a company in Shenzhen, the report said.

Some supermarkets, including Japanese brand MUJI, are also suspected of violations, CCTV said.

MUJI said on Thursday that the two kinds of products, a cereal beverage and a muffin, are made in Fukui-ken and Osaka, which are not on the list of imports banned by China’s quality supervision authorities.

http://www.ecns.cn/2017/03-17/249602.shtml

http://www.pressreader.com/china/china-daily/20170317/281694024591810

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima, Japan Ban On Fish Exports Over? After Nuclear Radiation Disaster, Countries Could Lift Embargo

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After years of banning Japan’s fish and agriculture, many countries might be willing to give the nation a second chance and import its goods. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and the resulting radiation in the region caused 54 countries and regions to implement restrictions on certain Japanese goods.

That number has shrunken to 33, with more nations likely to follow suit and lift the ban, the Japan Times reported Wednesday.

We are looking forward to the lifting of the South Korean import ban,” Masao Atsumi, a sea-squirt farmer in Miyagi prefecture, told the Japan Times.

South Korea, which received about 70 percent of Japan’s sea squirt exports, imposed a ban on fish imports from eight prefectures in Japan in 2013.

The European Union began easing its own restrictions on Japanese imports in 2016. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Russia all continued to ban products from certain regions.

Lifting such restrictions could be a sign that Japan, still heavily burdened by the disaster six years later, was on the road to recovery. The nuclear meltdown left a zone of more than 300 miles surrounding the plant uninhabitable, causing the evacuation of 160,000 residents. Many of those residents were set to begin returning in the coming days.

Despite progress, serious problems have continued to pervade the region. Due to melted fuel debris, radiation in the nuclear plant recently reached the highest levels ever recorded inside, with experts calling it “unimaginable.” Radiation reached such elevated levels that the robots tasked with cleaning the reactor could not survive. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the group responsible for the cleanup, was still struggling to complete the $188 billion recovery process to decommission the plant, a project estimated to take decades.

The barren region left behind by the disaster also has a wild boar problem. Hundreds of the animals began invading towns surrounding the defunct plant after residents fled, scavenging for food and virtually taking over.

http://www.ibtimes.com/fukushima-japan-ban-fish-exports-over-after-nuclear-radiation-disaster-countries-2508805

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Olympic food suppliers lack necessary food safety certification

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As the organizers of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics work on ensuring that food provided during the tournament will be safe, the games face a huge shortage of domestic food producers with the necessary food safety certification.

The certification in question is known as “Good agricultural practice,” or GAP for short. Ever since the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, the provision of GAP-certified food and drink to venues such as the Olympic Village has become increasingly important.

However, the number of producers in Japan who hold GAP certification is extremely low — partly due to high costs and a lack of knowledge about GAP among consumers. It is thought that less than 1 percent of food producers in Japan hold either the Global GAP or Japanese GAP certification.

This is an issue for producers because the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Games is on the verge of finalizing criteria for food safety during the tournament — with much of the criteria expected to revolve around GAP certification.

In response to the current shortage of GAP-certified producers in Japan, an official close to the government commented, “If we keep going at this pace, there is a real danger than there won’t be enough domestically produced food available during the Games.” This would be a great shame because the country has a multitude of wonderful food and drink on offer, such as “wagyu” (Japanese beef) and Japanese tea.

Furthermore, it is expected that about 15 million meals will need to be provided during the 2020 Olympics, so naturally, it will be an excellent opportunity to showcase Japanese food to the rest of the world.

There is a modified version of GAP in Japan — based on Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) guidelines — but just five of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including Shimane and Tokushima, follow it.

A British version of GAP known as “Red Tractor” was introduced prior to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. In total, 80 percent of food producers who supplied the tournament in London picked up the Red Tractor certification by 2010. Such a system may well provide inspiration for Japanese farmers.

GAP is an important certification because it helps stop the mixing in of any improper substances during the food production process. For example, under GAP regulations, pesticides must be stored safely in a locked room. Also, any fluorescent lighting close to agricultural produce should be covered accordingly.

However, although GAP certification is undeniably well-intended, farmers wanting to apply must pay an annual registration fee in the region of several thousand yen per year, and depending on the size of the farm, there is a screening fee in the region of 100,000 to 400,000 yen per year. In addition, awareness about GAP is low among distributors and consumers, and the fact that GAP certification would not be accepted as a reason for raising food prices means that there are several hurdles for producers.

The government does plan to provide some financial support in this area, but for the time being, awareness across Japan about GAP certification remains a pressing issue.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170305/p2a/00m/0na/001000c

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Agency to probe reasons behind underpricing of Fukushima items

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Prices of agricultural products and foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture declined after the nuclear plant accident in March 2011, and almost six years later, have yet to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Now the government is seeking to ascertain why these items are still being sold at lower prices, suspecting that wholesalers are deliberately underpricing products being shipped from the prefecture.

The Reconstruction Agency will survey wholesalers’ purchase prices of Fukushima-made food products, according to sources.

The agency believes crops and other items grown in the prefecture are being undersold because of the negative effects of groundless rumors stemming from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The latest decision is aimed at preventing the spread of those rumors.

The agency’s plan is expected to be included in a draft revision of the Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, to be submitted during the current Diet session.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the nuclear accident, Fukushima-made foodstuffs have been shipped only after their radioactivity levels are confirmed to be below safety standards.

The levels for those agricultural and other products typically fall below detectable levels, meaning most foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture are completely safe to eat.

Despite the fact, trading prices of rice and beef produced in the prefecture are still nearly 10 percent lower than national averages, according to the agency.

The agency suspects that the prices have not recovered to their pre-disaster levels not only because consumers tend to avoid Fukushima-made articles, but also because they are “purchased at unreasonably low rates” at the time of shipping.

When prices to wholesalers of food products grown in the prefecture are lower than pre-disaster rates, farmers can be compensated for the difference by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Some wholesalers may knock down the price, misusing the compensation system,” said a source at the Reconstruction Agency.

To prevent the abuse of the compensation system, the special measures law will be amended to include a plan to conduct “a survey to make clear why they (Fukushima-made products) are suffering from sluggish sales.”

Based on the revised law, the agency will survey the prices farmers are selling their crops for to wholesalers, how much consumers are paying for the agricultural products and other trading prices of foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture.

After identifying the reason for the lower prices, the agency will offer instructions and advice to wholesalers and other related parties.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702150001.html

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February 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima peach exports recover in Southeast Asia, sparking hope for other produce???

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The original article was published by Fukushima Minpo, local Fukushima Newspaper, which promotes “recovery”.To export your contaminated fruits to other countries is plainly criminal.

Fukushima peaches are making inroads into Southeast Asian markets in what prefectural officials see as a model case of recovery in its farm produce.

Fukushima grabbed the top share of Japanese peach exports to three Southeast Asian countries last year — 73.9 percent in Thailand, 76.8 percent in Malaysia and 55.9 percent in Indonesia.

In terms of volume, Fukushima exported a combined 30.6 tons of peaches to the three countries plus Singapore in 2016, surpassing the 23.9 tons logged in 2010 — the year before the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant shattered trust in its farm produce in March 2011.

Given the improved figures, the Fukushima Prefectural Government now believes the measures it took to combat harmful rumors are paying off. It hopes to revive sales channels for other produce by using the recovery of peach exports as a base.

The prefectural government announced the export data at the end of January based on the Finance Ministry’s trade statistics for 2016 and other figures compiled by the Fukushima headquarters of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or JA Zen-Noh.

Fukushima is the nation’s No. 2 peach-growing prefecture after Yamanashi and has been dubbed a “fruit kingdom” for the wide variety grown, including cherries, grapes, pears and apples.

Its peach exports peaked at 70 tons in 2008, thanks mainly to Taiwan and Hong Kong, but import bans imposed from the Fukushima disaster saw the peach trade collapse to zero in 2011.

According to the prefecture’s public relations office, Fukushima was quick to review its sales strategy and shift focus to Southeast Asia, where some countries eased import restrictions on its produce at an early stage.

A decision to promote the sweetness and freshness of Fukushima peaches was also a major factor in grabbing the hearts of consumers, the office said.

Despite the success in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, it may take time before other countries in the region follow suit.

In Singapore, for example, Fukushima peaches last year had a market share of only 12 percent among all peaches the city-state imported from Japan.

The prefecture is hoping that the improvements in the three countries will help persuade other markets, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, that its peaches are safe.

The recovery of the fruit’s reputation overseas has provided great encouragement to the prefecture’s peach growers, including Shigeyoshi Saito, 58, of the city of Date.

Along with other items, peaches are a main pillar of Fukushima’s farm produce,” he said. “I hope their good reputation in Southeast Asia will spread the word to the entire world.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/19/national/fukushima-peach-exports-recover-southeast-asia-sparking-hope-produce/#.WKoHZvL9KM8

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

All Fukushima seafood samples pass safety tests for radioactivity

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Fish caught during test fishing operations are sold at the Iwaki City Central Wholesale Market on Jan. 13. (Kazumasa Sugimura)

 

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–For the first time, radioactivity levels were lower than the government’s safety limit in every seafood sample caught off Fukushima Prefecture for an entire year, officials said.

The Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station said 8,502 fish and shellfish samples were tested in 2016, and all recorded radioactivity readings under the safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

Ninety-five percent of them tested below the detection limit of around 15 becquerels per kilogram.

It was also the first time more than 90 percent of samples were below the detection threshold since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant started in March 2011, according to the officials.

People in the local fishing industry hope the numbers will help lead to a return to normal operations, although they say it is difficult to gauge the impact of harmful rumors about Fukushima seafood because prices depend on multiple factors, including quantity and quality.

Test fishing is, after all, test fishing,” said Yuji Kanari, a managing director with seafood wholesaler Iwaki Gyorui KK. “Turning that into full fishing operations like before (the disaster) will emerge as a major challenge this year.

I hope that local consumption of locally produced goods that was disrupted by the nuclear disaster will soon be back.”

The hauls from test fishing, which began in June 2012, have grown from year to year.

Preliminary figures show last year’s catch at 2,072 tons, up 560 tons from 2015, but still only 7.9 percent of the annual catch of 26,050 tons averaged over the decade preceding the 2011 disaster.

Ninety-four species are eligible for this year’s test fishing, which the Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative association started on Jan. 10 and the Iwaki city fisheries cooperative association began on Jan. 12.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702030003.html

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Gov’t plan to cut back radiation tests on produce draws mixed reactions

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The national government suggested it would scale back radiation tests on produce from Tokyo and 16 other prefectures affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, at a citizen-oriented event in Tokyo on Feb. 2, drawing mixed reactions from those in attendance.
A draft policy was put together by government bodies including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Consumer Affairs Agency and calls for allowing reduction of the tests from the 2017 fiscal year. The plan was influenced by the fact that there are now almost no cases of agricultural products that exceed the regulatory limit for radioactive cesium of 100 becquerels per kilogram. Under the draft policy, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government or any of the affected prefectural governments whose agricultural products were at half or less of the limit for the past three years could choose to scale back their tests.

Representatives from consumer groups and Fukushima producers were present at the Feb. 2 meeting. There were many voices of opposition against the draft policy, saying it was too early to cut back the tests, or that the requirement for scaling them back should be stricter than half or less of the regulatory limit. On the other hand, another attendee said that over the last five years the tests had cost around 4 billion yen and the money should “be spent toward more meaningful goals.”

According to the testing results from fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2015, during the first two years the percentage of products like vegetables, fruits, tubers and meats from these areas with radioactive cesium in excess of the regulatory limit was between 0.1 percent and 5.9 percent, but since 2013 no excessive radiation has been detected.

The central government plans to hold an event to exchange ideas on the matter on Feb. 17 and get a better understanding of public opinion, before deciding on whether to actually downsize the testing.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170203/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

 

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima ice cream sales “immune” to fears of radiation

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 18971 May 1945) was Adolf Hitler‘s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany.

The town of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture was one of the towns most severely hit by the Fukushima Daiichi March 2011 plume. Though not evacuated as it is located outside of the 30km radius evacuation zone decided by the Japanese government, it remains quite contaminated and has many radioactive hotspots.

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Winter sales have been strong for Rakuou Cafe au Lait Ice Cream produced in Fukushima Prefecture.

 

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture–A dairy company here that has withstood fears and rumors about radiation has produced a hot-selling item in the middle of winter.

Within two weeks in November, the initial 6,000 cups of Rakuou Cafe au Lait Ice Cream, produced by Rakuounyugyou Co. in Koriyama, were nearly sold out.

The company, founded in 1975, shipped out an additional lot of around 18,000 cups in December, but this supply has also run short.

Rakuounyugyou shipped 25,000 more cups, mostly to outlets in Fukushima Prefecture, in mid-January, and plans to ship an additional 24,000 within this month.

Perhaps our ice cream is being seen as more of a premium product,” a sales official at the company said.

Rakuounyugyou’s Rakuou Cafe au Lait, a mild-flavored lactic drink containing at least 50 percent raw milk from Fukushima Prefecture, has an entrenched fan base both in and outside the prefecture.

The company maintained its sales levels in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, while its competitors suffered losses due to radiation fears and rumors among the public.

Rakuounyugyou developed the ice cream product to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Rakuou Cafe au Lait. The ice cream contains at least 10 percent Rakuou Cafe au Lait and at least 10 percent milk.

We exercised trial and error because we absolutely didn’t want to disappoint fans of our Cafe au Lait,” the sales official said.

The ice cream was initially sold mainly at sightseeing facilities and expressway service areas in Fukushima Prefecture. Demand was high even though the company did little in the way of a sales campaign.

The spreading popularity of the product can be attributed to Twitter.

Tweets about the ice cream can sound like a hunt for a rare Pokemon on the “Pokemon Go” game app.

Where could I get one?” one post said. “I got one!” said another.

It is not the first time the social networking service has helped the dairy company; tweets of encouragement spread in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.

Be what may, the Rakuou Cafe au Lait tastes so good,” said one particularly popular tweet at that time.

Cafe au Lait is being shipped to a growing number of retailers, most of them in the greater Tokyo area. Sales of the product are up 10 percent from pre-disaster levels.

Word of our ice cream has also been spread by our fans,” the sales official said. “We are so grateful that we are reduced to tears.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701290010.html

 

 

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima to play direct role in pitching its produce in Tokyo-area supermarkets

There is no safe dose of radiation and any governmental propaganda saying otherwise is just criminal.

Especially when it comes to internal radiation from contaminated foods,  much more harmful than external radiation. Internal radiation’s harm is much greater many times depending which organ or cellular tissue is affected.

Japanese government once more continues to sacrifice the health of its citizens to  economic expediency.

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To fight harmful rumors about Fukushima farm produce and to revive sales, the prefectural government plans to set up permanent sales spaces for susceptible products in major supermarkets in the Tokyo metropolitan area this summer.

The prefectural government has been trying to improve sales by emphasizing the results of radiation tests proving the products are safe. But supermarkets are still reluctant to sell Fukushima produce even six years after the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The prefectural government will now focus on establishing sales channels and making sure Fukushima-made produce is treated the same way as produce from other prefectures. It will provide funds to hire sales staff to promote the products and to offer perks to those who buy them.

To recover the sales channels lost after the 2011 meltdowns, prefectural officials have judged it necessary to directly support distribution in addition to publicizing the radiation tests to prove Fukushima produce is safe.

We will take drastic measures to boost distribution of prefecture-made food products to recover and explore sales channels,” said Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori at his first news conference of the year on Jan. 4.

The prefecture plans to start the project in about 10 supermarkets in the Tokyo area before expanding to other stores after gauging public response. Fruit, vegetables, rice and meat produced in Fukushima will be sold at those locations and promoted by staff offering free samples. Prefectural officials may also try to generate interest by offering Fukushima products for free via lotteries.

The prefectural government plans to reach out to supermarket chains for proposals on how they would set up these dedicated promotional spaces. It believes retailers can benefit from the project because they can expect an increase in customers and sales by selling the produce with incentives attached.

Fukushima plans to invest part of the ¥4.7 billion in rumor-squelching funds allocated in the central government’s fiscal 2017 draft budget on projects aimed at improving its image.

We will ask for the acceptance and cooperation of supermarkets so that sales sections and channels for Fukushima-made products lost after the Great East Japan Earthquake can be regained,” said an official of the Farm Produce Distribution Division.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/15/national/fukushima-play-direct-role-pitching-produce-tokyo-area-supermarkets/#.WHvRAX3raM8

 

January 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwanese Say No to Japan Nuke Food Imports

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Thousands protest over ‘nuke food’

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Thousands took to the streets to protest the proposed lifting of a ban on food products from radiation-affected areas of Japan, following an inconclusive public hearing on the matter Sunday morning.

The Kuomintang (KMT)-organized march kicked off with remarks from KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).

“We will not tolerate our children being endangered by food products contaminated by radiation,” Hung said.

Hung urged the crowd of protestors to convey their dissent to the government as they marched from Aiguo East Road near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and down Ketagalan Boulevard to the Ministry of Finance at Aiguo West Road.

Representatives from various demographics, including housewives, young parents and expecting parents, spoke out in turn before the march began.

The diversity of backgrounds represented at the march “reflected the 74 percent of all Taiwanese nationals who oppose lifting the ban on food imports from five Japanese regions affected by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,” the march’s organizers claimed.

Expecting father Chen Hsiao-wei (陳孝威) expressed concerns that food imports from radiation-affected areas had already made their way into Taiwan.

Chen said he “did not understand any of the figures and numbers” presented by the government’s experts about the imports and only wanted to know why “Taiwanese people should eat these food products when the Koreans, Chinese, and Australians are not eating them.”

In a move that both served as a visual pun and was reminiscent of Latin America’s “pots and pans” protests, “new immigrants” — a term commonly used to refer to immigrants from Southeast Asia — attended the march with small pans and spatulas in hand to object to feeding their children potentially harmful food.

These mothers chose to “bravely speak out and bring their children to the march” to safeguard the welfare of the next generation, a representative of the new immigrant mothers told reporters.

A Failed Public Hearing

Earlier in the day, protestors and KMT legislators attended a public hearing at the Taipei Innovation City Convention Center in New Taipei City’s Xindian District.

The public hearing, which was intended to address the assessment and management of products from the five regions, failed to get past the explanation of the hearing’s rules after repeated outbursts from audience members.

Cabinet Spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) later said that “some people deliberately showed up (to the hearing) to provoke hatred.”

After moderator Chu Tseng-hung (朱增宏) spent most of the morning asking for decorum, legislators and NGO representatives present decided it was best for the public hearing to be downgraded to an informal forum that would hold no legal weight.

KMT Legislator Kao Chin Su-mei (高金素梅) said procedures for the hearing were “unjust” and that incorrect information was being disseminated. “The government is using technical issues to continue to beat around the bush (on this issue),” Kao Chin said during the hearing.

KMT Legislator Wayne Chiang (蔣萬安) said people’s voices were being omitted. At the march in the afternoon, he told the crowds, “The public hearing was not conducted in accordance with the principle of procedural justice.”

Chiang questioned the need for a hearing on the import of food products from radiation-affected areas if the government had reiterated that it would not allow the import of any “nuke foods.”

Around noon it was decided that the hearing would be downgraded to an informal forum, which organizers of the march later called a “victory of the people.”

Hsu Fu (許輔), director of the Cabinet’s food safety office later said that the forum had achieved “real results” and hoped the format could be used in future policy discussions.

President’s Office Responds

The office of President Tsai Ing-wen office later accused the KMT of “twisting” the hearing.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said a public hearing was one of the best “platforms for policy discussion” and that the KMT had managed to turn the hearing into “a show for their party’s own internal election.”

Huang stressed in his statement that the government had never wanted to open the country’s borders to radiation-contaminated food products. “Regardless of where the food products come from, the government holds the same attitude as every other country, which is that it would not import food contaminated by radiation.”

The presidential office spokesman further stated that the government would base their import policies on international professional standards and scientific evidence with no exception.

Radioactive Salmon in Canada

Earlier this month, a research team from Canada’s University of Victoria reported discovering radioactive salmon in the British Columbia region.

Research team leader Jay Cullen found that a sample of salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia had tested positive for cesium 134, which is deemed “a footprint of Fukushima.”

In the years since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, there have been increasing concerns about radiation-contaminated food products originating from the region and contaminated water supplies from airborne radioactive fallout.

Last year, public outrage erupted after food from the Fukushima disaster site was found on British market shelves with false labels. The scare hit closer to home when Taiwan discovered that more than 100 radioactive food products, originating from Fukushima but falsely packaged as coming from Tokyo, had made it onto shelves in Taiwan.

With the issue of food from nuclear-affected regions under close scrutiny domestically, more and more countries and international media outlets are paying attention to the potential of radiation contamination from Fukushima.

At the march, KMT Vice-Chairman Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌) took the opportunity to ask more people to sign the petition against lifting the food ban.

The petition has been signed by an estimated 78,000 people so far, with Hau stating in a previous interview that the number of signatures could reach 93,000 by year’s end.

KMT Legislator Lin Wei-jo (林為洲) said the brief suspension of plans to lift the ban was a direct result of nationals across Taiwan sending petitions in opposition.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/12/26/487690/p2/Thousands-protest.htm

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Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu, front third right, attends a demonstration along Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard yesterday against the proposed lifting of a ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures.

KMT leads public protests over Japanese import ban

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday took to the streets of Taipei, threatening to recall any lawmakers who voice support for the lifting of the nation’s import ban on Japanese food products from five Japanese prefectures, urging President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to provide the public with an explanation.

Taiwan imposed import restrictions on food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures following the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.

Addressing a rally against the relaxation of the ban outside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station in the afternoon, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) accused Tsai’s administration of caving in to Japanese pressure and “forcing radiation-contaminated foods down the throats of Taiwanese.”

We do not understand the Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] sudden flip-flop; we do not understand why the government is forcing people and their children to consume radiation-tainted food; and we do not understand … why we have to import radiation-contaminated food products just because of pressure from Japan,” Hung said.

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December 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment