March 22nd, 2011
08:55 PM ET
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In the wake of Japan's nuclear disaster, all milk, milk products, fresh vegetables and fruit from one of four prefectures closest to the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be prevented from entering the United States, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

All other food products produced or manufactured in one of those prefectures - Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma - will be diverted for testing, the spokesperson said. Food products from other parts of Japan will be tested as resources allow, but the FDA's main focus is food from these four areas, the spokesperson said.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered damage from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. Efforts to bring the plant's cooling systems back online to stabilize the situation continue.

Some of these food products have already been officially taken off the domestic and export markets: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan had previously ordered the governors of these four prefectures to halt the distribution of spinach and the local vegetable kakina, and told the governor of Fukushima to cease all raw milk distribution, the FDA said.

Read FDA: Some foods from 4 Japanese prefectures can't enter U.S.

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Filed under: Disaster • Environment • Health News • Japan • Radiation • Tainted Food

Notes from Zone 6b – growing glasswort and sorghum in a Brooklyn basement
March 22nd, 2011
02:15 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

I'm growing glasswort in my basement. Okay, technically, I am trying to germinate glasswort in my basement.

It's a dumb thing to do, but that doesn't seem to be stopping me. The stuff (also known as "sea beans" and "saltwort") pops up unbidden along saline-rich seacoasts and salt marshes and last I checked, my basement was host to neither. Or at least not since the Great Basement Flood of '10, and that was mostly sewer overflow. Yet, that's where I'm attempting to germinate a handful of seeds under grow lights in anticipation of warmer temperatures.

It would be a weird little victory, but I want it. In the face of chaos, both global and close to home, I garden. Hands in the dirt, grime under under the nails, food in the mouth. It's the natural order of things, it happens with or without my assistance, and occasionally asserting my place in the chain has brought me comfort.

Box lunch
March 22nd, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • A behind-the-scenes look at Chapel Hill's prince of pork: Allen & Son. - reeselife

  • Wherein Ernest Hemingway masquerades as a Yelper. - McSweeney's

  • A 50-cent price hike in one Taco Bell customer's favorite Beefy Crunch Burrito ends in a shootout. - Daily Mail

  • If you ever want to ship wine across state lines again, you might want to call your representative in Congress. - Vinography
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Tests detect radiation in ocean water off the shore of Japan
March 22nd, 2011
11:45 AM ET
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Japanese officials' concerns over food contamination expanded beyond the country's borders Tuesday as tests detected radiation in ocean water offshore.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that high levels of radioactive substances were found in seawater near the plant, but said that the results did not represent a threat to human health.

"There should be no immediate health impact. If this situation continues for a long period of time, some impact can occur," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

The impact such radiation could have on marine life was unclear. Japanese authorities were scheduled to measure radioactivity in waters around the plant on Tuesday and Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Earlier seawater radiation monitoring detected levels of iodine-131 that were 126.7 times higher than government-set standards, the electric company said on its website. Its monitors detected cesium-134, which has a half-life of about two years, about 24.8 times higher than the government standards. Cesium-137 was found to be 16.5 times higher than the standard.

Read Japanese officials will test food, seawater to determine health risks

Poll – Are you hesitant to consume fish from Japan?

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Filed under: Disaster • Environment • Health News • Japan • News • Ocean • Radiation • Tainted Food

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