Eden Traditional Japanese Foods and Nuclear Radiation Food Safety and Related Concerns
Nuclear Radiation Food Safety and Related Concerns
13 April 2011
To all concerned,
Eden has been supplying traditional Japanese foods for forty-three years.We eat them, and feed them to children and grandchildren. We share
concern about ongoing nuclear meltdowns, how they impact Japanese foods, and the wellbeing of all of us.
The situation is fluid and earthquakes continue. Radiation from Japan spread around the entire northern hemisphere in the first two weeks of the nuclear crisis, according to the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
One of the first things we did was acquire two radionuclide detectors and training in their use. We have recorded baseline numbers at Michigan and California Eden facilities for Japanese items that we received prior to the March 11 event. We are updating SOPs and continuing training.
We also established rapport with laboratories we are confident in, to
carry out tests for Iodine 131, Xenon 133, Caesium 137, Strontium 90, etc. on incoming food. We intend to dispatch items from Japan to a reliable Lab in Germany prior to their shipment to us.
Today we inspected the first container in Detroit that left Japan after
March 11th. It departed Tokyo March 14. We inspected the exterior and interior. We inspected representative samplings of the contents. Nothing was detected. This container is moving to our warehouse under FDA hold and they will take samples (very common procedure). What they will do with the samples they take remains to be seen.
Yesterday we inspected the first container in Oakland, CA that left Japan after March 11. It departed Osaka March 22. We inspected the exterior and interior. We inspected representative samplings of the contents. Nothing was detected. This container is moving to our warehouse under FDA hold and they will take samples. What tests will be done, remains to be learned.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been quicker and clearer than FDA as to specific concerns, and what is required of Eden before these foods can move into Canada.
We have mapped out all sources of our foods from Japan showing their relative positions to the out-of-control nuclear reactors. We have studied air and water currents to and from Japan, updating data and information that we already had. This makes clear that some items originating near the Fukushima Dia-ichi nuclear complex must be re-sourced, to new suppliers more distant and well south of it, in particular some of our misos. We do not see any difficulty in doing this, as of today.
We work with multiple sources for food supplies from Japan. This gives us options other importers, relying on a single consolidator, do not have.
Of our eleven Japanese sea vegetable items, nine of them come from the Ise Bay, well south of Tokyo and just north of Osaka on Japan's east coast and, so far, not impacted by atmospheric or oceanic drift of radiation.
Prognosis for steady supply seems good, although price pressures began immediately. Air current dispersion models that we are monitoring show nothing reaching this seaweed producing area. Additionally, ocean currents around Japan are very favorable for taking seawater radiation directly away from Eden's sea vegetable producing area in the Ise Bay. Eden Kombu is from Hokkaido and tsunami damage to the crop is still being assessed. Ocean and air currents look quite good for avoidance of nuclear waste becoming involved with kombu. One totally destroyed Eden sea vegetable supplier was Riken and their Sanriku wakame flakes. The crop
and village of harvesters were completely destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami.
Additional items that we are concerned about today are:
Maitake mushroom, Mirin, Wasabi, Yansen, Bonito flakes, some flavored Nori, Pickled Ginger, Bifun, and Dried Tofu. Specifics about these items remain very unclear at this time, yet we still have inventories that predate this event.
There are forty-seven prefectures, or geographical states, of Japan.
Twelve of them are situated so that a significantly enhanced scrutinization of anything coming from them is prudent. We are methodically monitoring this very closely, and intend to avoid foods from those areas.
This disaster is a world changer for sure. The manifestation of the change is ongoing. Please know that Eden Foods and I will continue to do our job of acquiring the finest foods possible. This will obviously require accentuated attention to new details regarding our food supply. We have pioneered many before, and I am confident we will successfully do so again.
Michael J. Potter
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