Monday, September 26, 2011

Japan's National Tax Agency To Test Wines and Sake for Radiation

Now it's National Tax Agency joining other government ministries testing radiation independent of each other. Why National Tax Agency? Because the Agency taxes alcoholic beverages.

The Agency will test wines, sake, and beer. Water and the resulting liquors will be tested but not the ingredients - grapes, white rice, hop, wheat, etc.

Hmmm. That's like Shizuoka Prefecture insisting that the only thing people need to worry about is the radioactive materials in a brewed cup of tea, not the tea leaves...

From Asahi Shinbun (9/27/2011):


Now it is a season for Japanese sake and wine making, and the National Tax Agency announced on September 26 that it will conduct the test for radioactive materials in liquors before they are sold in the market, starting October.


All the brewers within the 150-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (part of Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niitaga, Tochigi and Ibaraki) will be tested. Outside this area, randomly selected brewers, about 20 to 40% of the brewers, will be tested. The agency will test the liquors and the water that is used for brewing to see if radioactive materials are below the provisional safety limit for drinking water (including 200 becquerels/kilogram of radioactive cesium).


The test will be done according to the time of brewing. In October, fruit liquors including wines will be tested; from November to January next year will be sake, and beer in February.

Rice for sake brewing is different from rice for eating, and each prefecture seems to have its specialty brand or two. Hyogo Prefecture's Nada district is the most famous place for sake brewing in Japan. In east Japan, Niigata Prefecture is famous, and unfortunately the prefecture has also been affected by the radioactive fallout from the plant accident.

Grapes were flowering in April and May. Radioactive cesium has been constantly detected from summer wheat, though not exceeding the provisional safety limit. I haven't seen the test on hops.


Anonymous said...

As an alcoholic, I am pleased that they are testing my hooch.

Anonymous said...

I'll drink to that!

Anonymous said...

Where is the wheat from, Laprimavera? And where are the figures for the contamination? Thanks!

Damn shame about Niigata (etc) sakes. I expect a fair few smaller breweries will be taken down like the beef co's. I won't be drinking any Tohoku sake (much as I love it) nor eating its rice.

Post a Comment