Japan Radiation and Fish

Despite an apparent slight setback Monday,authorities in Japan and at the UN foresee an improvement in the nuclear situation there. But what about Japanese foodstuffs? To what extent are crops,dairy products and especially fish effected by the radiation. The country provides 15 percent of the world’s  commercial fish catch,and wholsesalers in Asia–at least temporarily–are stopping the imports of Japanese fish, especially fish used in sushi.

Bloomberg Monday morning:

Stores and restaurants across Asia dropped Japanese food from shelves and menus as the nation’s government halted spinach shipments and told residents around a stricken nuclear plant not to drink tap water.

The shipments will be stopped “for the time being,” even though contamination levels in Japanese food were not harmful, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said today at a briefing.

Mandarin Oriental International Ltd. (MAND) joined Shangri-La Asia Ltd. (69) in withdrawing Japanese fresh food from its kitchens. Lotte Shopping Co., South Korea’s biggest retailer, plans to halt sales of some fish from Japan starting tomorrow, Nah Geun Tae, a company spokesman, said by phone today

Meanwhile, BBC reports:

Villagers living near the plant have been told not to drink tap water because of higher levels of radioactive iodine.

The suspension – which the government said was just a precaution – applies to spinach from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma, as well as milk from Fukushima.

Over the weekend spinach and milk produced near the nuclear plant was found to contain levels of radioactive iodine far higher than the legal limits.

However, senior government official Yukio Edano told a news conference that eating or drinking the contaminated food would not pose a health hazard. “I would like you to act calmly,” he said.

The World Health Organization said it had no evidence of contaminated food reaching other countries. However, China, Taiwan and South Korea have announced plans to toughen checks of Japanese imports.

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