Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Worries continue over cesium-tainted rice as gov't softens contamination cap, Japan

Consumers are worried that rice badly tainted with radioactive cesium will find its way onto the open market after the government announced on Feb. 28 that farmers would be allowed to plant on land with cesium contamination over the new limit.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries dropped the maximum contamination limit to 100 becquerels per kilogram from the 500-becquerel maximum set last year in the wake of the meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. However, the ministry says it will now allow planting on land between the new and the old limit under certain conditions after farmers across Fukushima Prefecture raised an outcry. All rice grown in risky areas will be checked for contamination, but many consumers have voiced concern that badly contaminated rice will slip through the testing net as some did last year.

JA Michinoku Adachi, a Motomiya, Fukushima Prefecture-based chapter of the nationwide JA Group agricultural cooperative, estimates that the new 100-becquerel limit will cost the local farming sector 5.8 billion yen, and some 400 local farmers turned out for a lively rally against the new limit on Feb. 20. Read More