Radiation found in food
Tokyo – The Japanese government halted the sale of all food from farms near a tsunami-affected nuclear plant today after abnormally high levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach.
The news of food contamination came as emergency workers scrambled to curb a nuclear crisis sparked by last week’s monster earthquake and tsunami.
Crews came closer to restoring electricity needed to power up failed cooling systems in stricken reactors at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant and an unmanned contraption was able to spray seawater continuously to cool down an overheating spent nuclear fuel pool.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said levels of radiation exceeding safety limits stipulated by Japanese law were found in some samples of spinach and milk from the Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures but authorities said the radioactive iodine-contaminated food posed little risk.
Tainted milk was found 30 kilometers from the plant and spinach was collected as far as 100 kilometers (65 miles) to the south, almost half way to Tokyo.
“Though radioactive iodine has a short half-life of about eight days and decays naturally within a matter of weeks, there is a short-term risk to human health if radioactive iodine in food is absorbed into the human body,” warned the International Atomic Energy Agency.
A person who consumed the tainted food continuously for a year would take in the same amount of radiation as a single CT scan, Edano said. That’s about 7 millisieverts or double what an average person in an industrialized country is exposed to in a year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (CNN)