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Japanese baby formula recalled due to elevated radiation levels

The prominent Japanese food and candy maker Meiji Co. is voluntarily recalling its canned powdered milk product for infants after radiation was detected, reports the Washington Post. The company found levels of radioactive cesium that were lower than the limit imposed by the government, but Meiji Co. is pulling their products from shelves as a precautionary measure.

Testing revealed levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 to be approximately 30.8 becquerels per kilogram, which is lower than the government’s safety limits for milk of 200 becquerels of per kilogram. However, elevated cesium levels in baby formula pose a particular health threat, because infants are more vulnerable to radiation than adults.

Kyodo News explains that airborne radioactive cesium tainted the product as it was being dried at a plant in Kasukabe, Saitama prefecture, in March.

After the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused three reactors to meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, many Japanese consumers began to worry about food safety. Other products, such as beef, fish, and rice, have been tainted by radiation in the past months.

“Following the nuclear disaster in Japan, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of requests to perform Gamma Spectroscopy analyses [radiation testing],” states Joseph Frasca, Senior VP at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In response, EMSL began accepting food products, soils, vegetation, and water matrices to test for radiation. Moreover, we are able to process samples quickly—some in as little as one day.”

by S. C.
07 december 2011, World News > Asia

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