WHO/FAO/IAEA Questions and Answers on the Nuclear Emergency in Japan and Food Safety Concerns

Food Safety and Traceability The recent damage to the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, and the subsequent detection of radioactivity in certain food samples from neighbouring areas have raised concerns about the safety of food in Japan.

The Japanese authorities have regulations in place relating to provisional regulatory limits of radioactivity in food. Measurements of radioactive material concentrations in food are now taking place and are being released by the Japanese authorities. The presence of radioactivity in some vegetables and milk has been confirmed. Some of the initial food monitoring results show radioactive iodine detected in concentrations above the Japanese regulatory limits. Radioactive cesium has also been detected, but at lower activity concentrations.

The following questions and answers produced by the FAO and WHO address some of the growing international concerns over the safety of food produced in Japan.

  • Q: What are the international implications of the recent reports of radioactivity in food in Japan?
  • Q: What are the potential health effects of consuming contaminated food?
  • Q: Is all food production in Japan affected by the nuclear emergency?
  • Q: What impact will this have on food and food production in Japan?
  • Q: How do food products become radioactive?
  • Q: Why is food affected in areas beyond the evaucation zone?
  • Q: Are there rules for radioactivity in foods for international trade?