Japan: first report of radioactive contamination in rice

Agricultural inspectors in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture have detected small amounts of radioactive cesium in a sample of rice farmed in Hokota city, about 100 miles south of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The prefectural government posted readings here, says the rice is safe: 52 becquerels per kilogram, or 1/10 the limit established for grain.

This news follows earlier disclosures that radioactive contamination has been detected in beef, milk, and other agricultural products from throughout the country. But no one food staple is more central to Japanese culture, diet, and identity than rice, and this news comes as fears grow about whether the 2011 harvest will be safe.

More: WSJ, NYT, and an op-ed in Daily Yomiuri calling for steps to secure the safety of Japan's national food staple. (Via Steve Herman)

(Image courtesy of the Ibaraki prefecture government website.)