Amidst rising nuclear anxiety in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake, the Japanese government confirmed radioactive contamination in milk and spinach grown in the vicinity of the disaster site. The earthquake severely damaged several nuclear power plants, including the Fukushima Daiichi, which have been releasing radioactive contamination into the atmosphere.
This contamination has spread beyond the immediate vicinity of the stricken plants. Radioactive traces were found in milk produced over eighteen miles from the Fukushima plant as well as in spinach grown over sixty miles from the plant. The Japanese government is considering halting the sale of milk and spinach from the Fukushima prefecture in light of these revelations.
Contamination of Japanese milk and spinach alone is unlikely to affect international exports, given the extent that Japan relies on imported food and agricultural products.
However, if the contamination spreads, it could impact Japanese exports. Food imports from Japan, largely seafood and processed fruits and vegetables, make up roughly four percent of U.S. food imports. In response to this announcement, the FDA has stepped up screening of Japanese imports.
The fears of contamination, however, are certain to impact Japanese imports, forcing the country to rely more heavily on imported food, particularly if radioactive contamination spreads, further damaging Japan’s agricultural production.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer