19 February 2017
Samples of all 3,486 school meals served for lunch in Fukushima Prefecture in fiscal 2016 were below the self-imposed minimum detection limit of 1 becquerel per kilogram in radioactive cesium content as of Feb. 16, according to the results of monitoring by the prefecture’s education board. Monitored were lunches at elementary, junior and senior high schools in 26 municipalities and at 17 such prefectural schools. Board and prefectural officials attributed the favorable outcome to steady progress in the production and distribution of food ingredients confirmed safe.
The board has been monitoring school meals since fiscal 2012 following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The number of food samples that exceeded the minimum limit was 14 in fiscal 2012, six in fiscal 2013, zero in fiscal 2014 and two in fiscal 2015. If no radiocesium is found in samples until the end of March when the current fiscal year closes, it will be the second time to see all school meals clear the standard following fiscal 2014.
In the monitoring project, the board receives cooked food samples from schools in municipalities desiring to have them screened and from all prefectural schools that offer lunches. It has set the minimum detection limit at a level far stricter than the legal standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram specified by the Food Sanitation Act.
(Translated by Kyodo News)