For the first time in months I've seen Fukushima veges in a supermarket near us.In Akihabara there has been a dedicated Fukushima shop with Fukushima veges, but most regular shops err on the side of caution when it comes to perceptions of consumer safety and opt not to stock food stuff sourced from Fukushima. (The food service industry is a totally different situation; no requirements on labelling the origin of foods mean particularly at the cheap end of the spectrum, there is strong incentive just to source what is cheapest.)
It's been very tough on farmers in the area. One of Hiro's uncles is involved in fruit and vegetables in Ibaraki. At New Year when they came to Akita they were talking about the irony of "Ganbarou Tohoku" when so many former customers wouldn't touch food from Ibaraki, let alone Fukushima (though some parts of Ibaraki are closer to the plant than some parts of Fukushima.) The graph below shows the lack of accuracy in categorizing food by political boundaries - prefectures isn't an accurate way to avoid food from areas that have high levels of cesium.
|MEXT via the Japan Times|
Cesium readings Sept 2011.
Though the colouring used looks dubious if you refer to this website
http://allegedlyapparent.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/comparison-japan-mext-fallout-map-cs-137-in-unep-colors-higher-resolution/, but on the other hand the difference in the scale of the map distorts the picture as well.
Yesterday we biked to Ibaraki and talked to the same uncle. He said things are much better there now. He was showing us the piles of documents that certified products as cesium free, and he was saying things have recovered for them now - people are buying Ibaraki products again. I didn't get a chance to ask him about how the testing is conducted, where and by whom, but it was obviously a great relief to him that they were testing cesium free. (They were testing cesium free from the outset, but it took some time for customers to return.)
The testing will continue for years, as much for gathering data generally to interpret nuclear accident as it is for protecting consumers. Norway is still having problem with animals over the maximum allowable level of
http://theforeigner.no/pages/news/chernobyl-still-affects-norway/ Incidentally, I read recently that the Scandanavian cesium limits are 5 times higher than Japan.
People have to make their own decisions about what to eat and what not to, but I was glad to see the tomato and cucumber and bought a packet of each.
|A sign in Ikebukuro advertising the fukushima|
market in Akihabara.
|Cucumber from Fukushima - the precture name is written on|
the second line down in small letters.
http://radioactivity.mext.go.jp/en/ Testing results