Friday, 29 June 2012

Plus 1, Fukushima Food, marine radiation

       Fukushima Food

       I finally get to write this story, last time i messed up saving and lost it.
  Some might wonder why on a vegetarian food blog i should be writing about seafood but this is part of the Plus. Not just for the people and other life of the Fukushima area but the whole world. 
  It arises because as the Fukushima crisis developed, large quantities of water which was hosed in for cooling accumulated and became radioactive. It then became a problem in itself and as an emergency solution it was discharged into the ocean. Here it was hoped it would disperse and disappear. Ha ha.
  Of course radiation is not like that. The Iodine has a short half-life and is expected to be gone by now. The Cesium remains a problem and no-one is even talking about Uranium or Strontium which are known to have been released in the plant.
  This might seem a problem for the Japanese and a long way away but discharge to the ocean or other body of water is still the usual way of dealing with problems in nuclear plants, certainly in the UK.
  The Japanese are the first to have to address this problem publicly.
  The octopus and marine snails released for consumption are free of radiation, the Iodine having been considered to have been and gone. As far as i am aware though, there has been no testing to see if it has left any lasting damage to DNA or other proteins, nor any carcinogenesis etc., or what risks there may be if these are positive and pass up the food chain.
  The people of Fukushima seem to be buying this mostly to support the local fishing industry, which traditionally is a pillar of the local economy. Of course the catch is not being sold outside the Fukushima area and it seems as if the goodwill of the locals is being used to treat them as human guinea pigs.
  There are massive implications for such a large radioactive discharge into the ocean. It doesn't simply dissipate, it travels with the currents and tides and bio-accumulates, passing up the food chain.
  It is going to be a problem for years and needs to be monitored closely. The Japanese are the first to my knowledge to address this problem, however simply, and there is much pressure from the global nuclear industry to just make it go away.
  The implications are for everyone not just seafood eaters. This has turned into a very different post to my first one, for better or worse. Still i offer my best wishes to the people and all life of the Fukushima area. Get well soon. :-)

               Enjoy your food everybody, think a little about where it comes from and how it is produced.

                   Love from Pa

Japan sells first fish caught since nuclear crisis

The Associated Press
TOKYO — 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.
A shopper chooses packs of octopus caught in the water off Fukushima at a supermarket in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, June 25, 2012. The first fishing catch from Japan’s Fukushima coastline since last year’s nuclear disaster went on sale Monday, but was limited to octopus and marine snails because of persisting fears about radiation. They were caught Friday, and were boiled so they last longer while getting tested for radiation before they could be sold Monday. The sign reads: Sales started! North Pacific giant octopus caught in Haragawa, no radioactive cesium was detected. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE
North Pacific giant octopus caught in the water off Fukushima is prepared at a supermarket in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, June 25, 2012.
A retailer checks a chestnut octopus caught in the water off Fukushima in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, June 25, 2012.  

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.
"It was crisp when I bit into it, and it tasted so good," said Yasuhiro Yoshida, who oversees the seafood section at York Benimaru supermarket in Soma, which sold out of about 30 kilograms (65 pounds) of the snails and 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of the octopus that had been shipped to the store.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year left the coastlines of northeastern Japan devastated, and displaced tens of thousands of people. Entire towns were contaminated by the radiation leaking from Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors went into meltdowns.
"I was filled with both uncertainty and hope today, but I was so happy when I found out the local supermarket had sold out by 3 p.m.," said Hirofumi Konno, an official in charge of sales at the fishing cooperative in Soma city in coastal Fukushima.
He said he hoped crabs would be next to go on sale as radiation had not been detected in them, but he acknowledged things will take time, perhaps years, especially for other kinds of fish. Radiation amounts have been decreasing, but cesium lasts years.
The octopus and snail were selling at almost half of what they fetched before the disaster, he said. But he said people were buying Fukushima seafood to show support for local fishermen. The items were available locally but not in the whole prefecture or the Tokyo area.
Nobuyuki Yagi, a University of Tokyo professor studying the fisheries industry after the disaster, said serious concerns remain over whether anyone would buy Fukushima fish, and the key lay in finding the types of fish that don't store radioactive elements.
"Fishing cannot survive unless people buy the fish. That may seem obvious, but Fukushima is facing up to this," he said in a statement earlier this month.
Farmlands have also been contaminated, and every grain of rice will be tested at harvest in some areas before they can be sold. The image of Fukushima produce has been seriously tarnished, and worried consumers, especially those with children, are shunning Fukushima-grown food.
"We are in for the long haul," Konno said in a telephone interview.
June 25, 2012 12:36 PM EDT
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