Fukushima to scale down radiation tests on rice

Fukushima to scale down radiation tests on rice

Authorities in Fukushima plan to scale down radiation tests on rice harvested in the prefecture.

Since the nuclear accident in March 2011, the local government has spent 6 billion yen - or about 53 million dollars - every year to check radiation levels of all rice produced in Fukushima.

The tests require farmers to transport their harvest to a testing facility. Samples with radiation levels higher than the government-set limit have not been detected since 2015.

An expert panel convened in July to review the testing system and survey the opinions of consumers.

Based on the panel's recommendations, local authorities have decided to replace full-scale testing with sample inspections in 47 of the Fukushima's 59 municipalities.

The remaining 12 municipalities are located around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Authorities have yet to decide when they will switch from full-scale to sample testing. Officials say they will take a decision in February.

Rice is the only produce from Fukushima to be tested systematically. All other agricultural and marine products undergo sample testing.