The Japanese health ministry says radioactive cesium exceeding the government's safety limit has been detected in tea leaves in the prefectures of Chiba and Saitama, near Tokyo.
This is the ministry's first discovery of radioactive substances beyond the legal limit since it began unannounced tests of food products last month.
However, other organizations such has Greenpeace that conducted test earlier have warned of such high radiation levels and urged to government to take actions two month ago.
The tests were started in order to verify local government data using different numbers and kinds of food samples.
The ministry says the leaves of one type of tea from Chiba Prefecture contained 2,720 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, more than 5 times the safety limit.
Meanwhile, a maximum level of 1,530 becquerels per kilogram was detected in 3 kinds of tea leaves from Saitama Prefecture.
The prefectural governments of Chiba and Saitama say they will investigate where the teas were grown and how much has made its way to market.
They say they will order tea producers to recall their product, if necessary.
Our neighbor a tea farmer has already burned all his crop due to high level of radiation since he wont be able to sale any of it. In his frustration he also burned all his tree bushes, believing that he wont be allowed to sale any tea for years to come. Now he has no idea what he will do. Due to this latest news the value of properties and farm land has fallen even further. The farmers are not only losing their income but also their land value and any way out of this crisis with it.
As harvest time for sweet potato, carrots, rice, wheat and other products is now underway, many farmer worry that they may lose their crops and end up in ruins. Even though the government has promised compensations for those affected, there is no warranty that one will receive compensation nor is the amount known or the time. Leaving many in limbo as to what to do and how to survive. Further, what will happen next year or the year after that, knowing that Cesium has a half life of 40 years it is unlikely that in the next few years much will change, leaving many farmers to wonder if they will still be able to farm tomorrow.
Saturday, September 03, 2011 22:23 +0900 (JST)