Japanese Health Ministry – Snap inspections of food for radiation to prompt local governments to step up their own inspection efforts

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The health ministry has stepped up its snap inspections of food products sold at supermarkets and elsewhere for possible contamination by radioactive substances that may have slipped through checkups by local governments.

Local governments are in charge of screening food products for radioactive contamination. However, the frequency and the selection of target items may differ depending on the inspecting bodies.

 

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Generally, such inspections are infrequent and conducted only on samples extracted before they are circulated. There is a high chance of contaminated food products slipping through if the selection of target items is patchy.

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The health ministry has requested the NIHS to check out food items produced within the jurisdiction of local governments that have modest inspection records. The ministry has appropriated about 15 million yen ($190,000) for that purpose. For the time being, 200 items will be screened every month.

The inspections have already produced results. On Sept. 2 and 5, radioactive cesium exceeding the government’s safety standard was detected in refined tea leaves from Chiba and Saitama prefectures.

"The central government involvement in the screening of food products in circulation will prompt local governments to step up their own inspection efforts," said a health ministry official. "I think it also helps to enhance consumer confidence."

Source: ajw.asahi.com, via Nuclear News | What The Physics?

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