Do you think that radioactive food is just a problem for the Japanese? Think again. It's legal to export food ten times more radioactive than the Japanese legal limit to the US. The Japanese don't really have to lose money since we're happy to eat their Fukushima cesium.
Japan has decided that fish contaminated with fewer than 100 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) of cesium-137 is good enough to eat. Some local officials have set a stricter bar of 50 Bq/kg.
An April 12, 2011 warning about food contamination from the Low Level Radiation Campaign in England said: “Vegetables and other foodstuffs showing more than 50 Bq/kg of cesium indicate airborne contamination with other radionuclides. LLRC advises food with more than 50 Bq/kg should not be eaten unless there’s absolutely no choice. We recommend that the Japanese government ask for international food aid supplies to prevent its people eating contaminated food.”
In the U.S. the permissible level of cesium in food is 1,200 Bq/kg. Canada allows 1,000 Bq/kg. The difference is startling. The huge discrepancy allows importation by the U.S. and Canada of what Japan considers highly contaminated fish, vegetables and meat. Rice, fish, beef and other Japanese exports poisoned by nuclear power’s single worst nightmare is doubtless being consumed in the United States.
Environmental radioactivity bio-accumulates as it climbs the food chain. Smaller species now under Japanese fishing bans — which are eaten by the big tuna — eat species that are smaller yet. So prize fish like tuna, which can live 30 years and are at the top of the food chain, will eventually be poisoned with far more than “trace” amounts of cesium.
Prof. Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says the seafloor is a major reservoir for Fukushima’s cesium. “It looks to me like the bottom fish, the fish that are eating, you know, crabs and shellfish, the kinds of things that are article feeders — they seem to be increasing their accumulation of the cesium isotopes because of their habitat on the seafloor,” he told Science in Oct. 2012. The BBC reported Oct. 25, 2012 that flounder, conger, Pollock, rockfish, skate and the popular U.S. imports cod, sole and halibut — all bottom feeders or demersal — “consistently showed the highest cesium counts.” [emphasis mine]