The FDA’s mantra since 2011 to the concerned public about Fukushima contamination in the food supply has been “don’t worry”. They have declared no need to test US Pacific fish or most imports. What the FDA is telling the general public through the media and what is going on behind the scenes is quite different.
The FDA has made this public statement:
“To date, no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern.”
That caveat is key. The current US intervention level is 1200 bq/kg. This is the level where the government would take action to remove food from the market. This is almost 12 times the level used in Japan currently.
There is a vast range between no radiation in your food and the US FDA interpretation of how much is too much.
What the FDA hasn’t been telling the public via the media is that they are worried about contaminated foods from Japan and they are actively blocking contaminated food from the US market. They just took a creative way to do it that absolves them from having to admit there might be a problem. Instead of instituting any sort of program to see what domestic or imported foods might be contaminated, the US FDA has ceded their responsibility to the Japanese government. This import alert found under the industry focused section of the FDA website explains how they are letting Japan decide what foods can or can not get into the US food supply. Foods not banned by Japan apparently have unrestricted entry and no testing by the FDA. Concerns about any contamination in the US food supply have been dismissed even though contamination has been found in the US food supply by independent testing. Since the levels are well below the FDA’s intervention level the FDA considers them to not matter. What this import alert seems to admit is that the FDA does have concerns about contaminated food in the food supply, they just chose to cede their authority to another government.
The Japanese government newest food restrictions that the FDA is allowing to serve as US public food safety standards classify foods not for sale as follows:
*A longer list of all the previously banned foods is included in the import alert.
It is not clear if this date range is all the things banned during that time or if the ban ended in July 2013.
From June 1, 2012 to July 10, 2013 the Japanese Prime Minister ordered the addition of the following products to the group of products restricted from distribution into the market:
� wild mushrooms from the Aomori prefecture;
� wild aralia sprout, azuki bean, bamboo shouts, chestnuts, ostrich fern,
soybean, ume, giant butterbur, uwabamisou, Alaska Pollock, barfin flounder, black cow-tongue, black rockfish, braddblotched rockfish, brown hakeling, conger eel, fat greenling, flathead, flathead flounder, fox jacopever, goldeye rockfish, gurnard, halfbeak, black porgy, eel, seabass, littlemounth flounder, long shanny, marbled flounder, nibe croaker, northern sea urchin, ocellate spot skate, olive flounder, pacific cod, panther puffer, poacher, red tongue sole, ridged-eye flounder, rockfish (sebastes cheni), sea raven, shotted halibut, slime flounder, spotted halibut, starspotted smooth-hound, starry flounder, stone flounder, surfperch, venus clam, vermiculated puffer, cooper pheasant, green pheasant, hare, and spot-billed duck from the Fukushima prefecture;
� wild mushrooms, Salmon (landlocked)(excluding farm raised), whitespotted char(excluding farm raised), Bear meat, boar, cooper pheasant and vesison from the Gunma prefecture;
� ocellate spot skate, pacific cod, stone flounder from the Ibaraki prefecture;
� buckwheat, soybean, black porgy, seabass, bear meat, venison, and cooper pheasant from the Iwate prefecture;
� buckwheat, ostrich ferns, rice, soybean, ayu(excluding farm raised), Salmon (landlocked) (excluding farm raised), black porgy, and bear meat from the Miyagi prefecture;
� wild mushrooms from the Nagano prefecture;
� bear meat from the Niigata prefecture;
� wild mushrooms from the Saitama prefecture;
� wild mushrooms from Shizuoka prefectures;
� chestnut, wild ostrich fern, and whitespotted char(excluding farm raised) from the Tochigi prefecture;
� bear meat from the Yamagata prefecture; and
� wild mushrooms from the Yamanashi prefecture.
This means no such products may lawfully be placed in the domestic or export markets.
Image credit: http://www.guillaumeerard.com
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