Octopus and Marine Snails – Fukushima’s Fare – Is this all that’s safe for sale after Japan’s Nuclear Disaster?

The first seafood caught off Japan’s Fukushima coastline since last year’s nuclear disaster went on sale Monday, but the offerings were limited to octopus and marine snails because of persisting fears about radiation.

Octopus and whelk, a kind of marine snail, were chosen for the initial shipments because testing for radioactive cesium consistently measured no detectable amounts, according to the Fukushima Prefectural (state) fishing cooperative. They were caught Friday and boiled so they last longer while being tested for radiation before they could be sold Monday.

Flounder, sea bass and other fish from Fukushima can’t be sold yet because of contamination. It was unclear when they will be approved for sale as they measure above the limit in radiation set by the government. The government is testing for radioactive iodine as well, but its half-life is shorter than cesium and thus is less worrisome.

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Rice Farmers in Japan Set Tougher Radiation Limits for Crops

Rice farmers near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will impose radiation safety limits that will only clear grains with levels so low as to be virtually undetectable after government-set standards were viewed as too lenient, curbing sales.

Farmers now completing the harvest in areas affected by fallout from the nuclear station are struggling to find buyers amid doubts about cesium limits, which are less stringent than in livestock feed. No samples have been found exceeding the official limits.

A self-imposed near-zero limit on radiation in rice may help spur sales from Fukushima, which was the forth-largest producer in Japan last year, representing about 5 percent of the total harvest. The prefectural office of Zen-Noh, Japan’s biggest farmers group, plans to only ship cesium-free rice to address safety concerns, as does the National Confederation of Farmers Movements, which includes about 30,000 producers nationwide.

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Japan bans Fukushima cattle shipments over radiation fears

The Japanese government has moved to contain a spreading scare over radiation-contaminated beef by banning all shipments of cattle from Fukushima prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power’s stricken nuclear power plant.The decision comes amid growing concerns over the safety of Fukushima beef after it was found that beef from more than 500 cattle, which had been fed rice straw contaminated with high levels of radioactive caesium, had been shipped to stores throughout Japan.

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Anxiety grows over Japan’s food and water supply

At a downtown grocery store, a line of anxious mothers cleaned the shelves of bottled water seven minutes after the doors opened. At an organic farm on the city’s outskirts, a group tested spinach with a hand-held radiation detector. And at the prime minister’s headquarters, the chief cabinet secretary announced that Japan is considering importing drinking water.

As emergency crews battled Thursday to contain nuclear fallout from the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeast Japan, a nervous uncertainty spread as far away as Tokyo, 150 miles to the southwest, as radiation was reported in parts of the food chain and millions tried to understand the implications.

In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday that Japanese scientists have found “measurable concentrations” of radioactive iodine-131 and cesium-137 in samples of seawater collected off the coast from the Fukushima plant.

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Japanese Document Radioactivity In Food

For now at least, fears about an unstoppable disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant have calmed a bit. But the crisis has clearly entered a second phase — tainted food and water.Over the weekend, radioactive iodine and cesium emitted by the crippled facility turned up in milk, spinach and other greens, canola seeds, fava beans and drinking water.

That poses a new problem: How to inform the public about the multiplying and scary-sounding test results without unduly scaring them.

Japans minister of consumer affairs and food safety pleaded Sunday for public calm.

"I hope the public will not be confused by groundless rumors, but act according to information from reliable sources," said Minister Renho, Japans most visible female politician, who uses only one name.

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