Thursday, March 24, 2011

20 March 2011: Radiation in Food

The last update for the day, about the "radiation in food" issue.

Because food stuff can accumulate radiation and internal radiation from food and drinks is easier to absorb, there has been strict checking on food items. Yesterday, for the first time, higher-than-normal levels of radiation were detected in some milk and spinach produces in places South of the nuclear plant.

Having the numbers available is a good thing. Both the ministry and a an environment expert (Dr. Masayuki Kubo) contacted by the media confirmed that the number are too small to cause any harm. But the ministry said they will keep checking the food and will not release anything for sale if they have levels beyond normal.

since the reporter kept trying to get some numbers for people to be scared of, and kept asking if how much of contaminated food is safe, Dr. Kubo replied "If they give me this food, I will thank them and have them." "Different people eat different food in different amounts, and not all of them will have the same radiation level. There is no easy-to-remember number that I can give. It is easier to remember that these levels are not worth worrying about."

A health ministry official later added that eating one kilogram of spinach every day for one year is required for any problem at the current levels.

Anyway, the good thing is that people are aware of the risk of contaminated food and all food is being checked. I was small when there was hysteria in Sri Lanka about "Chernobyl Milk Powder."

At the nuclear plant, they activated the pressure gauges of two reactors and got them to be stable. The staff have to both spray water on the things to cool them and connect electricity to them. Unfortunately water and electricity don't go together well, so things are slow. But we have got the best and the bravest people there, I trust them.

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