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Fukushima Surprise: Radioactive Rice “Far Exceeding” Safe Levels Found in Japan

Pretty big news from Japan, via Reuters. Needless to say, rice is central to both the Japanese culture and diet.

And it’s one more threat to a world food supply on the edge (see “Global Food Prices Stuck Near Record High Levels”).

Here’s more on the radioactive rice:

It is the first case in Japan of rice containing radioactive caesium exceeding 200 becquerels per kg, a level which requires further thorough testing of the area for the harvested rice.The government introduced inspection guidelines in August, with preliminary tests followed by more before approving shipments.

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If preliminary tests found rice to contain radioactive caesium levels of 200 becquerels per kg or more, the crop will be tested more thoroughly before approvals are made for shipments.

If the level of caesium in rice exceeded the government-imposed cap of 500 becquerels per kg, shipments from locally produced rice will be halted.

So far, no rice crop has been banned for shipments.

If the follow-up tests of rice harvested from Nihonmatsu city find radioactive materials exceeding the government-imposed cap, it would deal a huge blow to Japan.

The country has been struggling to regain public trust in the safety of nuclear power so it can resume operations of nuclear reactors to supply energy as well as food safety after wide-ranging products from water to vegetables were found with radiation contamination.

The bottom line is that the Fukushima disaster will continue to reverberate throughout the world for a long, long time (see “Japan scraps plan for 14 new nuclear plants” and “Siemens Stunner: Global Energy Giant Quits Nuclear Industry”).