TOKYO, Japan (Kyodo) — No radioactive substances were found in rice just harvested in nuclear crisis-hit Fukushima Prefecture, prefectural government officials said Thursday.
Rice growers in the prefecture, which hosts the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and elsewhere have been concerned about possible contamination as newly harvested rice is set to hit the market in the coming months amid public concern about food safety.
About 2 kilograms of brown rice harvested from paddies in the town of Aizubange on Monday and Tuesday was sampled on Wednesday. The samples were brought in to a prefectural farming facility in Koriyama on Thursday morning for testing.
The prefectural government allows brown rice to be shipped to market as long as it does not contain more than 500 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium.
Samples of the rice, which ripens earlier than other varieties, will be collected at about 200 locations in 21 municipalities in the prefecture, with plans to finish testing them by Sept. 10.
Meanwhile, the Chiba prefectural government said 47 becquerels per kilogram of cesium were detected in preharvest rice in the prefectural city of Shiroi.
The detection of the radioactive substance in rice follows the first case in Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
The Chiba government collected samples from two paddies in the city on Monday and found the substance in rice from one of them. It will shortly examine samples of harvested rice on a broader basis.
Rice containing less than the government-set provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram can be shipped, the prefectural government said.