No matter what the governments (national, prefectural) or the agricultural co-op (JA) in Fukushima say about the "safe" rice from Fukushima through vigorous testing, there are just too many ways that Fukushima rice that are contaminated with radioactive cesium can slip through and reach the consumers, without the consumers knowing that they are contaminated to a degree that they may not be comfortable eating it.
One way to sell directly to consumers, like in this case in Fukushima: "Mochi" rice (sticky rice used to make "mochi") containing 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium had been sold at a farm stand in Date City, Fukushima.
From Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):
The Fukushima prefectural government announced on January 27 that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from "mochi" rice produced by a farmer in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture. The density was 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. According to the prefectural government, 57.5 kilograms of this rice had already been sold by the first half of November 2011 at a direct sales depot in the city. The direct sales depot is calling for the return of the rice.
Return? Most likely the rice has been already eaten as "mochi".
I totally fail to sympathize with the farmer who sold the rice at the direct sales depot. By 2011 fall, it should have been obvious, even to people in Date City, that their houses, farmlands were heavily contaminated. The city was measuring the radiation levels in the city and finding "hot spots" everywhere.
Another way is being practiced by the Fukushima JA: Reduce the wholesale price so that the distributors can get a fat margin, thus incentive for the wholesalers to push Fukushima rice. I'm sure they will be glad to oblige, because they mix and match with other rice from other parts of Japan anyway.
Also from Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):
The Fukushima Branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Association (JA) has been coordinating with the wholesalers to lower the wholesale price of some brands of rice produced in Fukushima in 2011. A multiple wholesalers disclosed the news [to reporters] on January 27. The new price will be effective as soon as January 30. As the sales has slumped due to the baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Fukushima JA may be aiming at stimulating the sales by lowering the wholesale price.
The wholesale price of "Koshihikari" from Nakadori (central Fukushima) and from Hamadori (coastal Fukushima) will be lowered by 1500 yen to be 13,800 yen and 13,700 yen per 60-kilogram bag respectively. "Hitomebore" brand produced in Fukushima will be lowered by 500 yen to 13,500 yen per 60-kilogram bag. The price for "Koshihikari" produced in Aizu region (western Fukushima) will not change.
I do not think it is likely that the wholesalers will pass on the savings to the retailers, if the past is any indication.
There are just too many channels through which the rice will leave Fukushima, as the Fukushima JA handles only 23% of rice produced in Fukushima anyway.
By the way, the Fukushima JA has decided on the rice growing policy in Fukushima for 2012 crop. The only areas that they say they will disallow the planting of rice are the areas that produced rice that exceeded 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. Everywhere else, even in those areas that were unlucky to be found with rice that had radioactive cesium between 100 and 500 becquerels/kg, the JA will allow the rice growing after "thorough decontamination" of the soil.
We know what "decontamination" they are talking about, don't we? The rice farmers in Fukushima who grew rice last year (almost all of them) tilled their contaminated land before planting last year, mixing up the radioactive cesium, strontium and whatever other nuclides that landed with the then-clean soil underneath. Most likely they did the autumn tilling before the snowfall last year already. Most locations weren't even tested for radioactive materials in soil.
How do you decontaminate such land? It certainly won't be accomplished by thinly scraping the soil surface. Remove the top 30 centimeters? No that won't be enough, because rain may have driven radioactive materials further down. Top 1 meter then? The productive part of the soil will be gone.