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Radioactive substance found in 11 types of vegetables

Updated: 2011-03-23 13:53
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TOKYO - The Japanese government on Wednesday urged people not to eat 11 types of vegetable grown near the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeast Japan after levels of radioactivity in the produces were found to have far exceeded legal limits.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said consumers should avoid eating potentially contaminated vegetables grown near the faltering power plant, including broccoli, spinach, cabbage and cauliflower.

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The advisory from the ministry came following consultations with the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.

The ministry said the vegetables should not be consumed for the time being and noted that the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations has halted shipments of potentially contaminated produce as of Monday.

According to the health ministry, consuming 100 grams of the most contaminated vegetable for 10 days is the equivalent of ingesting half the amount of radiation a person would typically be exposed to in the natural environment in one year.

More than 160 times the safety standard of radioactive cesium were detected in a leafy vegetable known as "kukitatena," according to tests, along with levels of radioactive iodine that were seven times over the legal limit in Fukushima Prefecture.

The prefecture has been instructed to refrain from consuming and shipping turnips and similar green leaf vegetables grown in the prefecture including, "shinobufuyuna," "santona," "chijirena," "kosaitai" and "aburana" rape vegetables.

Fukushima Prefecture previously received an official order from the government to halt all shipments of parsley and raw milk and on Wednesday neighboring Ibaraki prefecture received the same order to halt its shipments of raw milk and parsley.