19 Nov 2011

Ban on rice from Fukushima

7:25 am on 19 November 2011

Japan has banned shipments of rice from an area near the nuclear power station at Fukushima after high levels of radioactive caesium were detected.

The sample came from a Fukushima city farm about 60km from the plant.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, resulting in radiation leaks.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the material was detected during pre-shipment tests and the contaminated rice had not been sold to consumers.

Hesaid the governor of Fukushima prefecture has been told to restrict shipments of rice harvested this year in the Onami district of Fukushima city.

The BBC reports the sample that was tested contained 630 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive caesium. The government's safety limit is 500 becquerels.

This is the first time that the authorities have imposed a ban on shipments of rice from the area.

There have been a series of scares over radiation in food in Japan in recent months, including beef, mushrooms and green tea.