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Japan – Govt. tightens control over cesium in food

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Japanese government is setting stricter standards for permissible levels of radioactive cesium in food products.

Local governments will begin applying the new inspection rules on Monday.

After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March of last year, the health ministry set the temporary permissible level of radioactive cesium in vegetables and meat at 500 becquerels per kilogram.

But the amount of cesium in food products has since decreased.

Under the new standards, common food products will be allowed to contain up to 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, 80 percent less than the current level.

Baby food and milk will be permitted to contain 50 becquerels, and drinking water 10 becquerels.

The health ministry says that, between January and March, a total of 600 cases were reported in 9 prefectures, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Tochigi, in which food products contained more than 100 becquerels of cesium.

The reported food products include landlocked salmon, flounder and raw shiitake mushrooms.

Local governments and the central government will stop distributing foods exceeding the new standards.

Sunday, April 01, 2012 .