Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2nd-Pick "Sayama-cha" Tea in Saitama: 84% Contained Radioactive Cesium, 9% Exceeded Provisional Safety Limit

The Saitama prefectural government decided to test all teas from all tea plantations in the prefecture (it is one of the major tea growing regions in Japan), after the Ministry of Health and Labor did the random testing of Saitama teas that were sold in the market in September and found radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg.

When the prefectural government tested the tea between May and July, they picked only 38 samples to test, and declared safe after they all tested "below the provisional safety limit".

On October 19, Saitama announced the result of its testing of the 2nd-pick teas (made from tea leaves picked after the new leaves were picked) of the prefecture's 1,081 brands of "Sayama-cha" tea at 216 tea growers and blenders.

Of 1,081 brands,

  • 97 (or 9% of total) were found with radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit, as much as 2,063 becquerels/kg;

  • 912 (or 84% of total) were found with radioactive cesium below the provisional safety limit, but as much as 490 becquerels/kg. (I'm counting the number of the brands again to make sure, but I don't think I'm far off.)

Again, the provisional safety limit is 500 becquerels/kg. Saitama Prefecture says it will affix the seal of testing on the packages of those teas that tested below the provisional safety limit, including the one with 490 becquerels/kg of cesium, so that the consumers will feel safe. All this label says is that the tea has been tested for radiation. The sunny mark at the top is supposed to indicate everything is OK.

They have already sold most of the teas that exceeded the provisional safety limit for cesium.

Below is the list of teas that exceeded the provisional safety limit, from the Saitama Prefecture website:

For the list of teas that tested below the provisional safety limit but still contained significant amount of radioactive cesium, go to the Saitama website.


Darth3/11 said...

Must admit, I plan to buy my green tea from Uji and Kyoto sources for the next couple of years.

That said, any kind of labeling is a step in the right direction. Consumer beware, of course.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Safer would be teas from Kyushu. There are several famous brands of tea from Kyushu. Don't know about label though, when all it says is it's been tested.

Anonymous said...

Many overseas fear the Japanese have contracted some sort of social malaise.

If not so, do your part in featuring people who are above it.

Anonymous said...

It just seems to be geting better. I am often surprised at how few people are even concerned about this sort of news! I worry for the Japanese people whose health can potentially be affected by the cumulative effect of air, food and water being contaminated. And yet, I am also concerned about those whose livelyhood has been forever compromised!

How do we strike a balance here??? So very sad..

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