– Cesium over limit found in tea using Saitama, Chiba leaves (Japan Times/Kyodo News, Sep. 4, 2011):
Radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit has been detected in four tea products that reached the market and were made with tea leaves from Saitama and Chiba prefectures, a recent health ministry inspection showed.
One of the products, using tea leaves from Chiba Prefecture, contained 2,720 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, far above the government-set limit of 500 becquerels, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Friday.
The three other products, made with tea leaves from Saitama Prefecture, were found to contain between 800 and 1,530 becquerels of cesium. It is the first time cesium exceeding the maximum limit has been detected in Saitama tea leaves.
The cesium levels were recorded during snap inspections of farm products by the ministry.
The Chiba and Saitama prefectural governments plan to recall all the products from store shelves. A ministry official said the products do not pose an immediate health risk to consumers.
Fukushima not peachy
FUKUSHIMA — The average wholesale price of peaches harvested in Fukushima Prefecture, the country’s second-biggest producer, plunged about 55 percent from August last year due to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, according to a recent survey.
The average price at 13 markets in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture was ¥195 per kilogram, compared with ¥437 in August 2010, the Japan Fruit Growers Cooperative Association said.
Farmers in Fukushima Prefecture — which is renowned for the sweetness of its peaches — have been badly hit by the price drop, said a 54-year-old farmer in the city of Fukushima.
Farmers only make a profit if the price is more than ¥200 per kilogram, an official from the fruit growers association said, expressing hope that consumers’ concerns over contamination from the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will have eased by next summer.
The price of Fukushima peaches lowered the average price of peaches on the market to ¥295 per kilogram, down from ¥453 a year earlier.