Tuesday, April 5, 2011
More on American food supply contaminated by Japanese radiation...
By: Toby Wollin
Being a food person (and if you were standing behind me, you’d see evidence of it all the time — I not only stand on my nutrition principles, I sit on ‘em too), the first thing I thought about when I heard that the Japanese would be doing a release to lessen the pressure was – oh, shit – America’s fruit and veggie supply is based on the West Coast. At the moment, what they are talking about in the atmosphere is Cesium (if you live in the western half of the US, you might want to call up your physician or local health department (if the Republicans haven’t budgeted them out of existence) to discuss Potassium Iodide to block your thyroid from taking up the radioactive iodine, especially if you have infants, children, lactating moms or pregnancies in your midst.
But back to food. Make no mistake about this – radiation can be taken in not only through breathing it in but also ingesting it. Whatever is out in the fields when the winds in the atmosphere hit the West Coast will be contaminated and I think we should all take the position that given the state budgets and the people in power, no one out there is going to stand over the farmers and orchardists with firearms and cans of gasoline to make sure everything in the fields is destroyed so that none of it gets into the food chain.(You’re especially screwed if you like broccoli)
Sort of tough for people who buy their fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store:”California produces more than half the nation’s fresh fruits and is the leading producer of fresh vegetables…California plants more than 80% of the nation’s broccoli acreage. California also produces 75% of the nation’s spinach, 75% of the nation’s fresh tomatoes, and 95% of tomatoes used for processing….Apples, strawberries, grapes, oranges and peaches made up 69 percent of the value of US fresh market production. California is the leading producer of all these fruits except apples; Washington State accounts for half the nation’s supply.”
West Coast Green
Many people are making comparisons between what has happened already (and what might possibly happen) in Japan with the explosion and fire at Chermobyl. Hundreds of technicians and firefighters died within a couple of months of that event due to radiation sickness and massive increases in thyroid cancers has been one result; the health of people in the region is still monitored, 25 years later. What happened at Chernobyl
But from an agricultural and food aspect, what happened from Chernobyl?
“Twenty four years after the catastrophe, restriction orders remain in place in the production, transportation and consumption of food contaminated by Chernobyl fallout. In the UK, they remain in place on 369 farms covering 750 km² and 200,000 sheep. In parts of Sweden and Finland, restrictions are in place on stock animals, including reindeer, in natural and near-natural environments. “In certain regions of Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland, wild game (including boar and deer), wild mushrooms, berries and carnivorous fish from lakes reach levels of several thousand Bq per kg of caesium-137″, while “in Germany, caesium-137 levels in wild boar muscle reached 40,000 Bq/kg. The average level is 6,800 Bq/kg, more than ten times the EU limit of 600 Bq/kg”, according to the TORCH 2006 report. The European Commission has stated that “The restrictions on certain foodstuffs from certain Member States must therefore continue to be maintained for many years to come”.
As of 2009, sheep farmed in some areas of the UK are still subject to inspection which may lead to them being prohibited from entering the human food chain because of contamination arising from the accident:
“Some of this radioactivity, predominantly radiocaesium-137, was deposited on certain upland areas of the UK, where sheep-farming is the primary land-use. Due to the particular chemical and physical properties of the peaty soil types present in these upland areas, the radiocaesium is still able to pass easily from soil to grass and hence accumulate in sheep. A maximum limit of 1,000 becquerels per kilogramme (Bq/kg) of radiocaesium is applied to sheep meat affected by the accident to protect consumers. This limit was introduced in the UK in 1986, based on advice from the European Commission’s Article 31 group of experts. Under power provided under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA), Emergency Orders have been used since 1986 to impose restrictions on the movement and sale of sheep exceeding the limit in certain parts of Cumbria, North Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland… When the Emergency Orders were introduced in 1986, the Restricted Areas were large, covering almost 9,000 farms, and over 4 million sheep. Since 1986, the areas covered by restrictions have dramatically decreased and now cover 369 farms, or part farms, and around 200,000 sheep. This represents a reduction of over 95% since 1986, with only limited areas of Cumbria, South Western Scotland and North Wales, covered by restrictions. ”