Salmon being tested for radiation from Japan nuclear disaster have come up clean

Fish Tests Radiation-negative, But Where's It From?

Wawmeesh Hamilton
9/20/11

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) has deemed fish tested in the wake of the Japan nuclear disaster as radiation free, but will not divulge where samples were taken from.

According to the CFIA, results from 12 fish samples showed minimal detectable levels of the radioactive particles Cesium -134 and Cesium -137. The results are below Health Canada’s “actionable levels,” said CFIA spokesperson Mark Clarke. The CFIA released the results of its tests on Friday, September 16.

West Coast salmon migration routes are near waters that are feared contaminated with radioactive fallout from the nuclear reactor that was damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan last spring. The agency did not answer repeated questions about where the samples were taken from in B.C., saying only that they were came from various processing stations.

The testing was done just as a precaution, authorities said. They had not expected to find anything. They waited till now because, although the twin disasters happened in March, the fish did not return to spawn until now.

Stó:l? Tribal Council fisheries advisor Ernie Crey said he is puzzled at the agency’s reticence about where the fish were taken from.

“It’s this kind of response from government officials that give rise to suspicion among Canadians,” Crey told Indian Country Today Media Network. “There is simply no good reason to withhold this information from the public.”

Testers could have picked the fish up from a processing plant, caught them on a recreational fishing charter or bought them from a commercial boat, Crey said.

CFIA will continue to monitor the situation in Japan and assess impacts on Canada’s food supply. But “no additional testing is planned,” CFIA spokesperson Alice d'Anjou said.

Fish continue to migrate through waters affected by the reactor disaster, Crey said. Therefore salmon testing should be longitudinal, he said. If long-term testing isn’t carried out and something is found later, then there could be consequences from the top down, he added.

Crey recalled Canada’s 1985 ‘Tuna-gate’ scandal, in which tuna found by officials to be unfit for human consumption was later given political assent to be sold.

“The minister and likely several people down the line lost their jobs over that,” Crey said. “Those are the kind of consequences that current and future politicians responsible for public health can expect over this if something is found down the road.”

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