I asked my naturopath, Stephanie Hamilton, to shed some light on seaweed being imported from Japan after the recent nuclear disasters. I had many questions for her, mainly- is the seaweed we're buying and eating safe or could it be contaminated? She has written this very insightful and informative piece for us based on her research. Thank you so much Stephanie, for taking the time to get the information and put it together in such a succinct and comprehensive way. If you live in Sydney and are looking for an amazingly holistic naturopath please contact Stephanie or Lotus Health in Neutral Bay for a consult.
I am passionate about clean, healthy, seasonal produce. It deeply concerns me that we are polluting our planet to the point where we are now concerned about radiation contaminating our food chain - the long term implications of this being completely unknown.
It seems nature wants to tell us something. The recent devastating Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami causing severe damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant has had people all over the world concerned about radiation exposure.
Here in Australia, one of these concerns lies in the food we import from Japanese waters, especially seaweed. It has been reported that seaweed collected from the coast near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has shown elevated levels of radiation.
Knowing the health benefits of seaweed in our diets, I naturally became concerned about not only eating contaminated seaweed, but also recommending it to my patients.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has advised the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to test foods from 13 Japanese prefectures before allowing the products to be released for sale. This advice is based on testing done by the Japanese and Singapore Governments that has found radionuclide levels above Codex guideline levels in some foods in these areas. Any foods that show radionuclide levels above the safe level will not be permitted entry.
It appears that every batch of seaweed or seafood imported from each of these 13 prefectures are subject to testing. According to one of the major seaweed suppliers in Australia that I contacted personally (Spiral Foods), testing of their seaweed is also performed in Japan and then again here in Australia before being acceptable for sale and consumption.
Some of you may have noticed that Kombu has been missing from shelves over the past few months. This actually has had nothing to do with potential radiation contamination, but was banned from importation before the natural disasters in Japan due to levels of iodine being above allowable levels.