Specifically, I want to talk to you about how to detect tainted beef from Fukushima.
But first, a few tips about produce. Many farms use pesticides and insecticides on produce to protect it from bugs and disease. I strongly suggest washing off all fruits and vegetables well before consuming. I also strongly suggest peeling the skin off of any produce whenever possible before consuming. Even if you don't eat the rinds on some fruits (like melons) you should still wash them before cutting as bacteria on the skin could wind up on the knife as you cut into the fruit.
Here are more great tips on washing produce properly.
Now, onto that controversial tainted beef from Fukushima. Pay careful attention as I will now demonstrate to you how to detect this beef product - or any other tainted product - easily and simply when shopping at stores in Japan.
This is not exactly rocket science.
Any reputable dealer in Japan will list where any product is produced clearly on the product label. It is how the free market works in Japan. All stores list origin of products. If they don't, customers don't shop there.
You must, though, be able to at least read some basic kanji.
Here are some examples. Notice circled areas:
Asparagus from Akita prefecture
Beef from Aomori prefecture
Corn on the cob from Chiba prefecture
Cucumbers from Fukushima prefecture. What!? Yep. That's
what it says. I saw a lady buy some too. Me? No. I bought
the cucumbers from Akita...
Hokkaido prefecture beef
Ibaraki prefecture beef...Oops! I mean Tochigi
prefecture! Thanks to Jimbo sensei!
Nagano mini-tomatoes... I could go on and on...
But why? I think you get the idea here.
If you ever see a product at a grocery store or a restaurant and it doesn't list origin of ingredients (good restaurants will specify where produce or meats and fish are you) and you want to know, ask.
This is the kanji for Fukushima.
If you are concerned about food safety, don't buy it if it has this on the label. I don't.
That's it. Just ask. Or read what the information says.
It's pretty simple.
Important! Recently, the huge retailer Costco had beef at astoundingly low prices here in Japan. Fine. But the beef in question, at the store that I am referring to (Kawasaki Costco), did not list origin on the rack. That is strange! When asked where the beef came from the store clerk whispered, "Fukushima."
Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware!
Let also the buyer learn to read and write at least second grade level Japanese if they live here.
And that's how to detect Fukushima beef.
Told you it wasn't rocket science.
For more excellent updates on Fukushima, see Marc Sheffner's Accurate Maps blog: http://www.sheffnersweb.net/blogs/accuratemaps/