Rice and Radiation: Fukushima Agricultural Group Gets Permission To Sell Rice in the U.K.

Fukushima rice

Anarchy in the U.K.: Brits To Be Third Country To Approve The Sale Of Fukushima Rice

Ah, globalization. Despite its problems–jobs going to the lowest bidder, rapacious corporations moving into every corner of the globe, the spread of disease as well as goods–there are some positives.

You can get any fruit any time of year, regardless of whether its in season where you live. You can get virtually any product any time, for that matter, no worries how exotic or uncommon it is.

And Brits are about to receive one decidedly exotic product courtesy of farmers in the Fukushima prefecture in Japan. For the first time since the nuclear plant there suffered a meltdown in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, rice grown in the area has been approved for sale in the U.K.

The rice, sold under the brand Ten no Tsubu, will undergo radiation testing and require official certification that confirms it is safe before it will wind up on the shelves in stores in the UK.

The approval of the rice makes the U.K. the third nation to accept the imported Fukushima-grown product since the meltdown, along with Malaysia and Singapore.

The first shipment to the U.K. will consist of 1.9 tons sent by the Agricultural Cooperative Associations (NFACA), a farmers’ group in Japan. The rice will be distributed across the U.K., and will find its way into stores and restaurants everywhere.

The idea is to revitalize the export business in Japan, and aid ailing farmers, who are still reeling from the results of the meltdown. It is believed that food from the area is safe to eat, and the agricultural group hopes to get the ball rolling on worldwide consumption of Fukushima-grown foods by starting in London.

“We would like to expand Japanese rice exports not only to the UK but also to the world, by enabling Japanese rice to be tasted in the UK,” said Seiichi Niizuma, general PR manager for NFACA.

Fukushima was once famed for its home-grown foods, but a series of food contamination scares since 2011’s nuclear accident has led to import bans worldwide. But as testing is showing that the rice and other food products grown there are radiation-free, the E.U. and other regions are also taking steps to lift their bans on Fukushima products.

And while one must of course feel sympathy for the farmers in the region, it is impossible to think about eating food grown there without gagging a little. Concerns about longterm health effects–especially given reports of a dramatic upsurge in thyroid cancer cases in young people from the area–should give any would-be shoppers pause when considering eating food from Fukushima.

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