FUKUSHIMA (majirox news) — Early harvest rice from the Fukushima prefecture towns of Yamatsuri and Bange was Sept. 17 declared free from radioactive materials and given permission for shipment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
Authorization to ship the rice was given to Fukushima prefecture towns for the first time since the March 11 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which continues to ooze high levels of radiation.
Rice from the two towns passed a two-stage inspection for radioactive cesium. The first stage checks cesium levels before harvest and the second once the rice has been collected. Tests were conducted only on municipalities where cesium levels are below the national safety standard of 500 becquerels per kilo.
Tests were conducted on rice from 48 municipalities and were not carried out on those places banned from producing food. First-stage testing found almost no cesium in pre-harvested rice from these areas, the ministry said.
Ministry officials had pledged to thoroughly investigate any areas where cesium levels exceed 200 becquerels per kilogram, but said they had found none in this round of testing.