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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Rice, beef and fertilizer.

At the moment we are all still eating last year's rice crop. Very safe and very tasty :) The problem now is with the new crops that are half grown in the rice paddies. Govt has put in place a mandatory testing system for 18 prefectures (including ours) twice;  now- mid rice growing and for those crops that test near the upper level of not safe for cesium isotopes plus another testing after harvest. Poor farmers. Some are going to lose all their hard work. The govt has agreed to compensate all farmers whose rice crops this year exceed the safety margin of 500 becquerels per kilogram.

Then there is the beef issue. Cattle have been badly affected across the country. Rain during the first 2 months carried toxins very far and many radioactive particles bind best to soil where animal fodder grows. Soil can be made safe..topsoiling is very effective since radionuclides do not bury deep. Not only that, many farmers left their hay and feed outside during those first months and then fed them to their livestock unknowingly. Tests have shown cattle in Iwate (north of here), our prefecture, and even in southern and far west prefectures have also been affected. Again, compensation is being paid and whole herds are being slaughtered and their meat banned.Cattle were worst affected I assume because the feed is often kept outside, chickens and pigs less so.

We are still not eating any Japanese meat, sad. It is going to take several years of testing to get this sorted. i am reminded of the foot and mouth disease problems in the UK, very different I know but also a loss for farmers and something that took years to resolve.

Fertilizer is made from leaves, and the leaves are also contaminated being outside, so this year's produce in home and garden centers/DIY stores etc is also unsafe. Some has already made its way out there but much has also been discovered and disposed of.