News of radioactive cesium rice just keeps coming from Fukushima Prefecture. This time, it is from Watari District again, and the number is the highest found so far.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (12/22/2011):
Radioactive cesium exceeding the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) has been found in rice harvested in Fukushima City and other cities in Fukushima Prefecture. On December 22, the Fukushima prefectural government announced that 1540 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found in rice grown by a farmer in Watari District in Fukushima Prefecture.
It is the highest level of radioactive cesium in rice detected so far. The rice is kept at the farmer's home, and not sold in the market.
Well, it is the "official" highest level, and it is approaching the "unofficial" high (2600 becquerels/kg) measured in rice grown in the soil taken from Iitate-mura by Professor Kazue Tazaki of Kanazawa University. A similar amount of radioactive cesium was detected in rice grown in Iitate-mura (unofficially by an irate farmer who was forced to relocate).
Farm soil in Watari District in Fukushima was never officially tested for radioactive materials. An NPO (FoE Japan) tested soil samples from Watari with the help of Professor Yamauchi of Kobe University, but they are not from rice paddies or fields. The Fukushima prefectural government still doesn't test it. I am very curious to know the radiation levels in the farm soil in Watari and elsewhere where radioactive cesium has been detected in rice exceeding the provisional limit.
As you can imagine, sales of Fukushima rice, which was shipped with great fanfare with the declaration of safety by the governor of Fukushima in early October, has ground to a halt. But I hear that a large food distributor Ion is determined to sell bento (lunch box) and onigiri (rice ball) proudly featuring the "safe" Fukushima rice to help Fukushima farmers, supposedly.