All Fukushima vegetables, fruits clear cesium safety limit in FY 2014 monitoring for 2nd year in row

All locally produced vegetables and fruits tested for radioactive cesium by the Fukushima prefectural government in fiscal 2014 showed measurements below the maximum allowable limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram under the Food Sanitation Act for the second consecutive year. The results can be attributed to, among other factors, success of the prefectural government’s measures to deter agricultural produce from absorbing radioactive cesium in the soil. However, unfounded rumors on radioactive contamination stemming from the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant remain deep-rooted. The prefecture will use opportunities, such as its massive tourism publicity blitz “Fukushima Destination Campaign,” to promote the safety of its produce in the rest of Japan as well as abroad. According to the results of the prefectural government’s monitoring of radioactive cesium in locally produced agricultural and marine products up to fiscal 2014, the largest product category was “vegetables and fruits” at 258 items, 23 more than in fiscal 2013, but none of the 5,850 samples tested exceeded the limit. In addition, no sample in other categories, including unpolished rice, raw milk, meat and eggs, contained radioactive cesium beyond the allowable amount. So far, the prefectural government has established a system to subsidize expenses for purchasing potassium to scatter in fields, which is said to be effective in stopping agricultural crops from absorbing radioactive cesium in the soil. Furthermore, the prefecture has promoted other efforts such as pruning radioactively contaminated parts, transplanting seedlings and scraping away tree bark. “The farmers’ persistent efforts are bearing fruit,” said an official of the prefecture’s agricultural promotion section.