Update 4: UN agencies respond to food safety concerns
23 March 2011 | GENEVA -- Radiation levels measured at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are falling, according to monitoring at the plant facility. The situation will not be stabilized until the reactors are brought fully under control. Operations to cool down temperatures in damaged reactors and pools containing spent nuclear fuel rods continue.
Public concern about food and water contamination from radioactive emissions from the damaged reactors is high. Working together to support Japan and the global community, WHO, and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency have published updated information on food safety.
Information disseminated by the organizations in a question and answer format addresses some of the growing international concerns over the safety of food produced in Japan. Not all foods will be affected by radiation being discharged from the stricken plant. Food that was dispatched or commercially packaged before the emergency commenced would not be affected. However, some food produced in areas where radioactive material has been deposited has been found to be contaminated. This is why local authorities have instituted extensive monitoring of food and water and are taking measures when indicated by their findings.
WHO is monitoring the international food implications related to the unfolding radiation event. The impact is local at this point and restrictions are in place to stop distribution and sale of leafy vegetables and milk from the vicinity of the plant.
WHO will continue to evaluate available data and revise information released on the topic as the event develops.