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Food in Japan Contaminated With Radiation

After Japan's massive 9.0 earthquake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant earlier this month, officials have been testing food from the area for radiation. And now they've found it: milk, spinach, and tap water from the area all have tested positive for varying levels of radiation.

The amount of radiation in tap water is not considered a threat, and officials are down-playing the risk associated with consuming milk and spinach. According to Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano, if one were to drink the contaminated milk every day for a year, the amount of radiation exposure would be equivalent to on CT scan, and spinach would be one fifth of a scan. Which doesn't sound that bad?

Still, they recommend children and pregnant women take potassium iodide to protect their thyroids from exposure. Exposure to radioactive material early in life has been connected to thyroid cancer.

Meanwhile, American restaurant chains in Japan are assessing the damage caused by the earthquake: despite rolling blackouts, unreliable food supplies and many closed locations, chains like Burger King and McDonald's are determining ways they can help the relief effort.

· Elevated Radioactivity Found in Japanese Milk, Spinach [WSJ]
· Japan Finds Tainted Food Up to 90 Miles From Nuclear Sites [NYT]
· U.S. Brands Assess Damage in Japan [NRN]
[Photo: AP]