Deja vu. Since they did exactly the same thing last year when the higher levels of radioactive cesium were being detected in peaches, why not this year, too?
As Yomiuri presents the story, the peach farmers in Koori-machi in Fukushima seems eager to use the Imperial Family as the endorsement of the safety of their peaches.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (8/8/2012):
Fukushima - 180 hand-picked peaches packed, to be offered to Imperial Family
A ceremony to pick the peaches to be offered to the Imperial Family was conducted in Koori-machi in Fukushima Prefecture on August 8. The peaches will be presented to the Imperial Family on August 9.
The work was done at the JA Date Mirai Koori Branch on August 8. 1020 peaches were selected first from all the peaches harvested in the town which cleared the standards for sweetness and size. From those 1020 peaches, 180 was carefully hand-picked that were of particularly high physical beauty in terms of shape and color, and packed in the boxes.
The town is well-known for its peaches. It is more than 60 kilometers away from TEPCO's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, but it has suffered baseless rumors after the nuclear accident. According to the JA Date Mirai, the prices of this year's peaches are about 70 to 80% of the pre-disaster prices. Co-op president [of the branch] Nobuo Ohashi (age 64) says, "Farmers are proud to be offering to the Imperial Family. We will fight the baseless rumors and do our best."
Baseless rumors. Many farmers and government officials in Fukushima have said "baseless rumor" to any detection of radioactive materials less than the government safety standards (first it was 500 becquerels/kg provisional limit, then the current 100 becquerels/kg, for cesium), even though the testing was "monitoring" - i.e. sampling - and less than 1% of vegetables shipped were tested at least initially.
So how "baseless" (radioactive) are the peaches from this particular town (Koori-machi) this year? According to the Fukushima prefectural government site, a government-funded organization is measuring the radiation of the peaches grown in Fukushima. It is still a sample monitoring, taking peaches from all peach growers in Fukushima. The measurement is done using NaI scintillation survey meter, and as long as there is no detection above 50 becquerels/kg, the organization declares it "safe".
For peaches from Koori-machi,
No. of peaches tested: 739 (from 6/25 to 8/5/2012)
No. of peaches with less than 25 Bq/kg of cesium: 727 (98%)
No. of peaches 25 to 50 Bq/kg of cesium: 12 (2%)
(Screen capture of the test results for peaches in Koori-machi, from the Fukushima prefectural government webpage)
Koori-machi's percentage of peaches with cesium between 25 to 50 Bq/kg is the second highest among cities and towns whose peaches are being tested. (The highest percentage, 3%, is from Date City.)
They don't even know (or care to know) exactly how much below 25 Bq/kg.
There are a few tests of peaches from Koori-machi done by the prefectural government, using the germanium semiconductor detector. So far this year, two samples out of 6 tested positive for radioactive cesium, and the highest was 10.24 Bq/kg. Detection limits are rather high, between about 5 and 10 Bq/kg.
(Screen capture of the Fukushima Prefecture's "Fukushima Shin Hatsubai" search result of the sampling tests of peaches in Koori-machi, in English)
The tweet with the link to this Yomiuri article was tweeted by someone I follow, a university researcher who has been vigorously testing the everyday food items that are being sold in the marketplace and cautioning people. He tweeted the link, and and his comment was "With no comment".
I've read anecdotes of farmers in Fukushima, shyly offering visitors if they would like to try their pickled vegetables (or any other food items) that they grew and made, saying "Only if you want to try, we have it tested and there was no radioactive material". I think it's a sad, painful story. But the farmers in the above Yomiuri article don't seem to have any problem, pushing their produce to the Imperial Family which has small children.
Oh yes it's all because of TEPCO's accident, and the farmers are victims.