Scientists detect Fukushima radiation in US tuna

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th May 2012

Trace levels of radioactive Cesium have been found in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California, according to scientists from Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) and Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station.

The research was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, caused extensive damage in northeastern Japan, including damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power installation, which resulted in the release of radiation.

The radioactive particles were detected in the tuna in August 2011. They had been picked up from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to a report from the National Academy of Sciences.

Pacific bluefin tuna spawn in the western Pacific and many migrate in their first or second year to the waters of the eastern Pacific.

“No immediate food safety concern”

The research did not conclude that there was a food safety or public health concern related to radiation from tuna of any kind.

SoMAS Professor Nicholas Fisher said, “While the radioactivity levels in bluefin tuna caught in California in August 2011 were only about three per cent above the natural background radioactivity, levels in this year’s bluefin may be higher, given that they would have been exposed to radioactive food and water for about one year prior to migration – unlike in 2011 when they were exposed for only about one month.

“However, radiocesium concentrations have become diluted and dispersed since the disaster occurred, and so the public health aspects will remain unclear until this year’s tuna are analyzed. We are now preparing to do that.”

The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and Customs and Border Protection screen imported foods from Japan, including seafood, before they can enter the US food supply.