May 17, 2011
Radioactive Substance Detected in Green Tea Leaves in Ibaraki Towns
The government said radioactive cesium of 894 becquerels per kilogram was detected in green tea leaves picked May 15 in Sakai and that of 570 becquerels per kilogram in Daigo in green tea leaves picked May 14, compared with the official interim limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
The prefectural government ordered the two towns May 16 to halt shipments of green tea leaves.
Meanwhile, radioactive cesium of 3 becquerels was detected in the hot extracts of green tea in Sakai and 30 becquerels in Daigo against the provisional limit of 200 becquerels for drinking water under the Food Sanitation Law.
Green tea in Sakai and Daigo bears the brand names of Sashima tea and Okukuji tea, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, alarmed by the high levels of the radioactive substance in tea leaves, ordered Tokyo and 13 prefectures in northeastern and eastern Japan to check steam dried green tea known as "Aracha."
Aracha weighs about one-fifth normal tea due to water evaporation and tends to have a higher level of radioactive substances than raw green tea leaves. The ministry ordered the metropolitan and prefectural governments to ban distributions of Aracha if cesium tops the national limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
The ministry also ordered local governments to beef up monitoring of freshwater fish such as ayu, or Japanese trout, and lake smelt as well as white bait and bamboo shoots.
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