Radiation in japanise tea
While the situation at the Fukushima powerplant is indeed serious, I think that putting it on the same level as Chernobyl is not warranted at this point. The two situations are quite different. Here is a brief outline of what happened at Chernobyl:
Regarding food safety, both for domestic consumption and for export, the Japanese government will be intensely screening food products for radiation levels. They have very strict limits on what is permissible. In addition to the Japanese government performing these inspections, you can bet that the international community as well will be monitoring products imported from Japan for safety. Then there’s the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency keeping an eye on things. It is highly unlikely that all of these organizations would all make a mistake and allow unsafe food to be exported or consumed domestically in Japan.
The situation there is indeed very serious, and it will take time to clean up. But there is no reason to be concerned about contaminated food entering the food supply.
It scares me since the radioactive cloud did cover the whole Japanese archipel for many days after the initial explosions. I know that this cloud came towards Canada and U.S.A. and that we can’t prevent being exposed anyway but it does turn me off from drinking 2011 tea harvests…
The Japanese government has been testing for radiation levels in harvested tea leaves to make sure they are safe. Samples of tea leaves from fifteen communities in Kanagawa Prefecture were taken and tested, and samples from five of those communities showed unsafe levels of radioactive cesium present. The Japanese government has asked the affected areas to not ship their tea products for the time being. The affected communities are:
Odawara City, Kiyokawa Village, Yugawara Town, Aikawa Town and Manazuru Town, all in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The government will test again next month during the next harvest.
Source: NHK http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/13_39.html
I still am not worried about consuming Japanese tea. Even if contaminated tea gets past on-site or government inspectors, product will be examined before being shipped either domestically or internationally. It is highly unlikely that any contaminated food will enter the food supply chain.
If you are concerned about your Japanese green tea, try to find out what prefecture your tea is sourced from. Most specialty online tea vendors will list what prefectures their Japanese green tea comes from. Then check a map of Japanese prefectures and pick a tea that comes from a comfortable distance away from Fukushima.
An update on how much cesium-137 and iodine-131 is in the leaves and what this might do for tea trade, interesting read.
Does anyone know anything about Maiko Tea’s product and any radiation impact (or any testing done in the Kyoto prefecture / Uji region)? I know Maiko’s tea comes from Uji, which is not on the embargo list – but I’ve emailed the shop a couple times with questions about radiation exposure, whether they’ve run any tests, etc., and no one responds. Just curious if anyone has heard anything about Maiko or Uji. Thanks
I read the article from above, and Uji is pretty south from there. I don’t even think they are getting readings for radioactivity. I am watching Shizuoka since their readings were in that article.
I haven’t read anything about Maiko Tea’s, but judging from the map, and the tests from other parts of Japan, they are good to brew. My heart breaks for them, this disaster just won’t stop. But this article is so enlightening, They really look at the glass being half full.
Here’s a helpful article too:
The original is in french:
The long link is the one thru Google translate
According to this article, even in the most affected areas, the amount of radiation that actually comes through in a cup of tea is extremely little… even drinking lots of affected tea for a whole year amounts to far less radiation than one would experience in an airplane flight. Check it out.