Is it safe to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster? The consensus since the 2011 power plant failure has been a yes, but Seattle’s Loki Fish Co. found customers remained concerned.
The fishing company, a local institution, went on to do its own testing for radiation levels in its fish, and shared the laboratory reports online. (The short version: The fish were fine.)
“We were getting so much blowback from customers that have just been reading incredibly paranoid stuff on the Internet,” said Pete Knutson, co-founder of the family-owned business. Beyond some of the “off the charts” fears, though, he understands why people would be concerned, and he’s always interested in knowing how pure his own products are. The decision: “Let’s just do the testing and let the chips fall where they may.”
It helped his decision that he could find no specifics from public agencies like the FDA, which simply says on its website that “to date, FDA has no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern.”
After the $1,200 endeavor, Loki’s web page reported that “All seven stocks of salmon were tested for the radionuclides associated with the nuclear plant failures in Japan: Cesium 134, Cesium 137, and Iodine 131. Of the seven samples, five did not register detectable levels of radionuclides. Two of the samples registered at trace levels – Alaskan Keta at 1.4Bq/kg for Cesium 137, and Alaskan Pink at 1.2Bq/kg for Cesium 134. There were no detectable levels of iodine-131 in any samples.
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