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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan : Kan asks Fukushima residents not to eat leaf vegetables over radiation

From Kyodo News :

" Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato on Wednesday to order residents not to eat leaf vegetables harvested in the prefecture for now after radioactive materials far exceeding legal limits were found in 11 types of vegetable grown in Fukushima, where a troubled nuclear plant is located.

Leaf vegetables subject to Kan's order included spinach, the ''komatsuna'' leaf vegetable, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, the government said.

Kan also instructed the governor to suspend for the time being shipments of these vegetables as well as turnips produced in the prefecture.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry earlier in the day issued a call to consumers not to eat the 11 vegetables, including spinach and komatsuna.

The National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or JA Zen-Noh, which distributes many of the prefecture's vegetables, has not shipped any of the produce since Monday, the ministry said.

In the latest sign that the impact of radiation leaks is slowly spreading beyond Fukushima, the premier also asked Masaru Hashimoto, governor of Ibaraki, a prefecture neighboring Fukushima, to suspend shipment of raw milk and parsley produced in his prefecture.

If a person eats 100 grams of the vegetable with the largest detected amount of radioactive materials for about 10 days, it would be equal to ingesting half the amount of radiation a person typically receives from the natural environment in a year, the ministry said.

If a person keeps eating the vegetable at the same pace, the amount of radiation intake could exceed the amount deemed safe, the ministry said.

The ministry detected 82,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium, 164 times the limit under the food sanitation law, in ''kukitachina'' leaves from Motomiya, along with 15,000 becquerels of radioactive iodine, which is more than seven times the limit, it said.

The ministry also detected a level of cesium drastically exceeding the limit in some of the other vegetables, it said."

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