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Monday, September 26, 2011

Shops & Restaurants Do Own Radiation Checks

Apparently many Japanese restaurant chains and retailers are performing their own radiation checks to prove to themselves, and perhaps as a marketing ploy, to prove to their customers that their food products are safe and free of radiation.

While everything we eat contains some radiation in very, very minute traces, this whole story smacks of desperation.

The time to have actually been a good corporate citizen was back in March and April and May of 2011 when the Dai-ichi nuclear reactors were actually spewing radioactive materials into the ground, water and air. Yes...  many crops were were irradiated, I suppose.  More than likely the farm land was to some degree.

According to a report from the Jiji Press news agency reported, radiation checks are already in place whereby municipalities are supposed to guarantee the safety of all food items before distribution.

Despite this assurance, consumers are still wary, perhaps because there have been recently publicized incidences where beef and tea leaves were reported contaminated long after being shipped to restaurants and shops.

Zensho owns the Sukiya brand of gyudon (beef strips on rice) bowl restaurant chain, first began conducting radiation test in late March 2011 on all vegetables purchased by it that were coming from northeast Japan, including Tokyo, as well as on eggs from the Tohoku area (Miyagi, Fukushima and more). They then added beef to their additional radiation checks after a small amount of contaminated beef was found on store shelves.

Next it began checking rice harvested in 2011...

"The government-set safety standards alone cannot satisfy our customers," explained a Zensho official.

While Zensho does screen its beef, doing the same for pork and poultry is not as easy. While it can actually check for contamination, tracing a pig or bird in Japan back to its source is impossible. Unlike beef which has a proper cattle identification system, there is no such government system in place for fowl or pork here in Japan. 

(Editorial Aside:) To only be concerned about checking food products now tells Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife that the purchasers of these food products (restaurants and shops) do not have any faith in the source of the food product - and neither does the populace. That's sad. Checks and balances should have been in place years and years before this. Why are people and companies purchasing food from sources they can't trust? Whatever. For such a forward-thinking country, Japan is very-backwards sometimes. It needs to get a sustainable tracing system in place for pork and poultry products. Check out THIS story I posted elsewhere on a cool Canadian seafood traceability system.

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