power – strom und macht

Meiji ignored info on cesium-tainted baby food for 2 weeks


Susanne Gerber

Containers of Meiji Step condensed milk are seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 6. (Mainichi)
Food maker Meiji Co. received information on three occasions in mid-November about radioactive cesium in its baby food but paid no heed to the leads for about two weeks until it finally looked into the matter when approached by Kyodo News and a citizens‘ group earlier this month, Kyodo learned Friday. Meiji, which subsequently found up to 30.8 becquerels per kilogram in its Meiji Step milk powder, said it had initially concluded that „further investigation was unnecessary“ because, of the three occasions, one was an anonymous call and the two others cited Internet information that the company was unable to confirm. „We would like to respond with better sensitivity from now on,“ a Meiji spokesperson said. An anonymous caller provided Meiji’s customer service with information on Nov. 14 that a citizen’s group in Fukushima Prefecture had detected cesium in the milk formula in late October, according to sources familiar with the matter. On the same day, two consumers contacted Meiji saying they saw information about the suspected contamination on the Internet. They were told by the customer service that there was no problem with the product as the company conducts monthly checks, the sources said. Meanwhile, in light of the cesium-tainted milk powder, Japanese health minister Yoko Komiyama said Friday her ministry will regularly test baby food products in connection with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis.The tests will be conducted every three months or more frequently, she told a press conference.The radioactive contamination of the Meiji product was the first found in baby food since the March 11 disaster and has attracted attention even though its level was far less than the government-set limit of 200 becquerels, amid concerns that babies are more susceptible to the harmful effects of radioactive materials than adults.“As mothers and other consumers are very concerned (about radiation), we want to carry out regular tests,“ Komiyama said. The ministry found no radioactive cesium when it tested 25 baby products in July and August after the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan triggered the nuclear crisis.


Filed under: Danger, Radiation

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