Sunday, August 14, 2011

FDA and Fukushima, Japan - PLEASE READ

Believe it or not, the Food and Drug Administration (aka FDA), the organization that is supposed to help monitor the safety of our food and medicines (see their tag line Protecting and Promoting Your Health with your health italicized) says it is okay for us to be sourcing food from the Fukushima area. Not quite clear how sourcing from Fukushima Japan promotes your health and the health of your family.

Below is the link stating the details of the FDA giving the green light to sourcing from Japan.

(copy in a new window so you don't lose this blog)

A couple of things I would like to bring to your attention.

Watch this video to get an idea about how things are in Fukushima right now. This is raw footage, not how the government wants things to be portrayed obviously.

1. The FDA is relying on the Japanese government to tell them what is safe and not safe. I'm not so sure that is a good idea as the Japanese government has motivation to tell us the food is safe. Namely, if they said that the food was unsafe, it would put a lot of people out of work which would not be good since their country has already suffered so much.

Watch this video to learn about the things the Japanese Nuclear Power executives have said and then restated. There are quite a few things and the Japanese government is most likely relying on these reports to determine how much contamination is around Japan.

In turn, the FDA is relying on the Japanese government that has never been through this before and who has real motivating reasons to continue to say food is safe to tell us what is safe. They need to continue to export. Their country has already suffered so much. If the Japanese government says food is safe, then we let it in. A couple of problems with this:

1. We are playing Russian roulette with people's health. We have the Japanese government saying certain foods are safe and others who say no. Since it is debatable, one question still remains: WHY ARE WE GAMBLING WITH THE HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF OUR FAMILIES??? Instead of taking food from them, we should be giving the people of Japan food like we do for others around the world who are in need. The world organizations should be helping the people of Japan too. They deserve healthy and safe food.

2. If the Japanese government has not commented on the particular product coming into our ports, then we are relying on whoever is bringing it to our shores to show us that it is safe. What?! These people want to close the deal. How on earth can we trust them to say it is safe? Do you think they would bring it all the way across the ocean then to stand in front of the USA reps at the port just to say no, sorry, these haven't been screening for cancer causing materials. Come on!!!

3. FDA is doing random sampling checks. They can't possibly screen absolutely everything coming in from Japan for radioactive materials so there are shipments, big shipments, that get in without ever being screened directly. I spoke to an FDA rep and I mentioned this to her and she said, "Now you understand why FDA inspectors lose sleep".

What they do screen they use something called a geiger counter. Here is a picture of one, not sure if this is the same one the FDA uses but it gives you an idea

They measure for certain radioactive cancer causing particles. PROBLEM: According to Arnie Gundersen, a leading nuclear analyst for over 39 years, these things screen for the bigger particles, but not for what is called hot particles, tiny, like really tiny tiny particles that still cause cancer.

The next link is to Mr. Gundersen's website that has a bunch of interviews he has done (others can be found simply by doing a search on his name.) He is pretty well respected as an expert. The problem is, legally, he can't propose legislation to make change as experts aren't allowed to do that. So, while Mr. Gundersen has lots and lots of information it is not until you and me and everyone around the country steps up to the plate that change will be made.

The first video is put together by someone else at UC Berkeley. Warning: it is pretty intense. Some spelling errors in there b/c he felt the need to get it up and running as quickly as possible. He is going to fix it as soon as possible to put a clean version up there but definitely worth a watch if you can stomach it. If you are new here, just start with scrolling down to the videos that talk about Fukushima. Again, just copy and paste this link in a new window so you won't lose your place in reading this blog.

(copy in your other window so you don't lose this blog)

Assuming that the FDA is doing a 100% fantastic job at screening everything coming in, they still would not be able to screen for the super tiny cancer causing hot particles.

sooo... in summary a couple of bad things...

1. Sourcing from Japan- as far as I'm concerned, sourcing from anywhere there is a bad idea. Nobody knows for sure where all the cancer causing materials are, its been found near and far from the nuclear power plant, so let's just not source from there period. Plain and simple.
2. Trusting Japanese government to tell us what is safe
3. Relying on suppliers who want to close a deal to tell us it is safe at the ports
4. FDA testing only a small sample of things coming in from Japan for cancer causing materials
5. The device used to measure the cancer causing materials is not effective in finding the tiny tiny particles called hot particles that still cause the cancer. That's why corporate responses are so troubling...When asked where ingredients from Japan are going they say its "proprietary", none of your business and/or they say we have all these safety measures in place. How can this be? There is no known way to check to see if something is contaminated with these tiny hot particles that still cause cancer. I have asked several companies to address this issue. I have asked them if they know of something that I don't know that measures for the hot particles. Not one company has returned my email on the issue.

This ties into my previous blog on country of origin labels. Our country of origin labels are pretty much non exist (see my blog on the crazy label section). There's no way for you and I to know what is coming from Japan. We can't turn the label over to see what to avoid. Same thing goes for if you want to avoid consuming things from China for example. We are getting tons and tons of stuff entering our food supply from places like China and we don't even know it. That's got to change.

The next blog will be on what I have found from major food corporations in terms of whether or not they are choosing to source from Japan. You see, even though the FDA gives the green light, it doesn't mean companies have to go there. They can choose to have their common sense rule or have their desire to make more money rule their decisions.

No comments:

Post a Comment