Friday, April 20, 2012

Ministry of Agriculture to Food Industry: Don't Use Own Radiation Standard, Use Government's

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries notified the food industry on April 20 that the industry should abide by the radiation safety standards set by the national government, and not use their own (i.e. lower) standards.

The reason? Actually there are two:

  • So that the testing is "scientific" (meaning if companies are going to test on their own they are strongly encouraged to do so at the testing laboratories registered with the Ministry - there are 40 of them in Japan according to the Ministry's information);

  • To avoid "excessive" regulation and to use the government standards in presenting the results.


From Asahi Shinbun (4/21/2012):

食品の放射能検査「独自基準やめて」 農水省が通知

Stop using radiation standards in food that is different from the national standards, Ministry of Agriculture notifies

食品の放射性物質検査をめぐって、農林水産省は20日、スーパーや食品メーカー、外食産業などの業界団体(270団体)に対し、国が設けた放射性物質の基準を守るよう求める通知を出した。国よりも厳しい独自基準を設けて自主検査を実施し、「『放射性物質不検出』の食品しか売りません」などとする動きに歯止めをかけるのが狙いという。

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) issued the notice to the 270 industry groups such as supermarkets, food manufacturers and restaurants on April 20 that they should abide by the safety standards for radioactive materials set by the national government. The purpose is to restrain the move by the food industries to set their own, stricter standards and conduct testing, and to sell only the food not contaminated with radioactive materials.

国は4月から、それまでの暫定基準を改め、新基準(一般食品の放射性セシウムは1キロあたり100ベクレル、牛乳と乳児用食品は50ベクレル、飲料水10ベクレル)を施行した。

The national government adopted the new safety standards for food in April (100 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in food in general, 50 becquerels/kg for milk and baby food, and 10 becquerels/kg for drinking water).

通知は同省食料産業局長名で出され、民間に広がる自主検査に対する注意喚起の形をとっている。通知は、この新基準が国際的な指標と比べても、さらに厳しい設定であることを強調。「過剰な規制と消費段階での混乱を避けるため、自主検査においても食品衛生法の基準値に基づいて判断するよう周知をお願いします」と記している。

The notice was signed by the head of the Food Industry Bureau of MAFF, and written to warn on voluntary inspection of radiation in the private sector. The notice emphasizes that the new government standards are even stricter than the international indicators, and says "To prevent the excessive regulation and confusion at the time of food consumption, we would like you to make it well known that the results of voluntary inspections should be interpreted according to the standards set by the Food Sanitation Act.


Let's all get internal radiation exposure, the government seems to be saying. After all, this government doesn't think anything of feeding the imperial family with milk with radioactive cesium. Why should it care for lowly citizens? The DPJ government also plans to send Prince and Princess Akishino, parents of the future emperor (5-year-old Prince Hisahito), to Uganda, of all places.

8 comments:

Steveo said...

Their GDP is down, for numerous reasons, and the pimps of nuke say nuke is the solution, how absurd!

Niigata said...

Japan is frankly hopeless ... there is never a decision that is in simple "common sense" ... when my wife who is Japanese lamented, saying that Japan was over, I think she's unfortunately right when I read that ...
> :: Arevamirpal laprimavera:
What authority can have the ministry of agriculture vis-à-vis private companies, when you see that big business (TEPCO kind ... etc.) have what they desire?
What do they fear sanctions when we read that the wholesaler who sold meat Fukushima by changing the labels had only a warning (warning at 50 th, there will be a reprimand and that 50 th blame, it may be possible to punish him?)

Anonymous said...

Me to Ministry of Agriculture: Stop lying first.

Anonymous said...

Smart businesses will not ignore the wishes of the consumer.

So long as this remains guidance and not law, Aeon and the others would be idiots to comply. Their competitors, and new upstarts (me included) could step in, steal their successful business model, and start poaching their customers at huge profit. Why not!? It's a free country isn't it?

But even if this new request could be made into a law and then actually enforced, the smart businesses will find other ways of differentiating themselves on the radiation level of food and sell "safer" products. For example, if they cannot say the food tested under 50 Bq, they CAN say that the soil the food was grown in tested under 50Bq. Or they CAN say that the powdered milk used in the baked goods is from New Zealand. And they CAN still label country and region of origin.

And there is the online vendor with his own testing equipment and a costco card. I could buy eight cases of Korean nori, test them myself in a used detector I buy from Aeon, and then sell them on Amazon, posting a video of the test and test results on youtube. Sure someone could cheat the test results with a little editing, but in the worst case, my immediate friends, and their friends, and friends of their friends would probably buy the stuff from me if I couldn't sell it all on the net. What would the government do? How could you prosecute this? Who would want to go after all the little guys who try this?

Oh, and I would rent my detection equipment out to others who wanted to do the same.

No, the government's attempt at regulation here will be even less effective than the war on drugs in the US. Mostly because the Japanese society know the GOvERNMENT IS WRONG in this case.

BIG BUSINESS must JUST SAY NO to the government's request. If you don't, small business will be steal your customers.

DON'T IGNORE THE CUSTOMER! That's what American car manufacturers did in the 1970's and look what happened to TOYOTA!

Anonymous said...

Aeon: Who are you more afraid of - a pencil-necked government bureaucrat? or a smart consumer with an internet connection and a big mouth?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Deputy Prime Minister Okada's father was the founder of Jusco (today's Aeon), his brother is the current CEO of Aeon.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Deputy PM Okada should pick up the phone and put these MAFF bureaucrats in their place. Their poorly conceived and unenforceable anti-consumer guideline will hurt the competitiveness of big companies like Aeon. It won't work. Don't pursue it any further.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this form of absolutely absurdity and insanity is now prevelant in the modern world as a whole, as we see technospheric breakdown on a worldwide scale. The promises of modernity have not been fulfilled, or have they, replacing humans with robots who don't feel sick from radiation etc. As the great Matt Johnson of the Orthodox Nationalist has emphasized in his lectures, "the bourgeoisie is the instrument of global destruction." I also recommend the essay by Joe Trento on how Japan is carrying out a secret nuclear weapons program! Google "Trento, Japan and plutonium" and it should come up. Have a nice day.

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