(Guest Post) How to Source Radioactive Material-Free Food in Japan: Food Co-Op
Not all co-ops (grocery stores operated as cooperatives) are equal, but some are decidedly more customer-friendly (as opposed to producer-friendly) and take care in sourcing the food that are not contaminated with radioactive materials AND disclosing the detailed information of their testing.
One of the readers of this blog, William Marcus, has sent me his observations on sourcing the safe food in Japan. William currently lives in Osaka with his family with the toddler son. He says co-ops in Japan are not centralized (which I didn't know), and that more east and north you go co-ops tend not to disclose the details of the testing they do (if they do the testing) on the foodstuff they sell.
The particular COOP that he recommends is "Shizenha" co-op headquartered in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture and has operations in Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku region. The co-op, he says, has just started to accept membership from Kanto and Tohoku regions.
I live in Osaka and sourcing clean food for our toddler son has become the biggest concern of ours, after monitoring the fallout plumes and contamination in our vicinity (which thankfully, seems to be quite limited compared to California, my home state). We have always been interested in buying healthy food and have belonged to COOP for many years.
You may or may not know that COOP is not centralized -- there is no national standard for COOPs; they are regionally managed, but their membership can be quite spread out; so we recently joined a COOP (Shizenha; based in Shikoku/West Japan) that is quite more transparent in testing and showing the results of these radiation tests. Our original COOP ("S-COOP") is also doing more testing and has invested another 5 million yen in more testing equipment and outsourcing their testing to a subcontractor as well, but they won't disclose the results of the testing -- only if it is above or below the current (inflated), permitted government safety limit. Shizenha has a different 'feel' to it, and discloses the results of their testing weekly both on their website and in the order forms that we receive weekly.
Basically, the story is this: the further north and east you go, the less likely the COOPs are to disclose testing results as this might well embarrass their long-standing farming/food sources, while to the south and west, this is less likely to happen as their food sources are generally less suspect.
read on: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/09/guest-post-how-to-source-radioactive.html