Organic Mushroom Farm Tainted by Radioactivity

A clean and natural farm in Fukushima, Japan is a casualty of the nuclear plant meltdown.From the Japan Times-

Yuji Hoshino has seen his second generation mushroom farming business nearly wiped out because mushrooms concentrate radioactivity.

“Log-grown mushrooms were a symbol of safe, chemical-free food. That’s been turned upside down,” said the stocky, self-assured farmer. “I can’t sell my products with pride anymore.”
Meanwhile, the future of the wild plants, animals, and insects in the coppiced oak woodlands where he used to cut logs for the shiitake crop are also threatened.
The same is true throughout northeastern Japan. Because mushrooms are more prone than other crops to absorb the radioactive cesium spread by the disaster, growers continue to suffer even in areas where other farmers have returned to business-as-usual. And because mushroom production is closely entwined with a certain type of forested habitat, troubles in the industry presage ecological as well as human impacts.

It could have been much worse for Fukushima and the world. This is a reminder that radioactive pollution lasts forever and shows up in unexpected places.

The Chernobyl disaster happened over 25 years ago, and there are still unpleasant surprises– from The Daily Mail, 2011–

Levels of radiation are measured in becquerels. The EU sets a maximum limit for caesium 137 in food of 600 becquerels per kilogram – double the level in Japan.
But the amount of radioactivity found in the mushrooms destined for British families was more than 6,000 becquerels.
Caesium 137 causes genetic mutations in humans and animals. Eating food contaminated with the radioactive metal can lead to cancer or cause deformities in developing babies.
The mushrooms were discovered on May 6 at Humber Sea Terminal, North Lincolnshire. Details emerged last night in a report by port health chiefs.

Chernobyl has not gone away either. As we contemplate building more nuclear plants and cutting food safety inspections this is something to consider.

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