To eat or Not to Eat?

Deformed fruit from Saitama

Deformed fruit from Saitama

Ever since the earthquake cum tsunami incident that destroyed the nuclear plants at Fukushima, the effort to contain radioactive fallout is apparently futile. Official reports on the situation there are scanty. The Abe government has since November 2013, effectively placed a gag order to prohibit unauthorised reports of the calamity. Under these circumstances, speculation of the true nature of the nuclear disaster is rife. What is the impact of the aftermath and on the ongoing effort to mitigate radioactive contamination cannot be adequately assessed.

Social media is awashed with reports of genetic mutations of birds, plants and insects (picture of deformed fruit taken from Saitama in June 2012) and a rise in thyroid cancers. They are blamed on Fukushima radiation fallout. Evidences are circumstantial, and there is still inadequate research to fully pin the blame on Fukushima. But damning reports coming from credible scientists and mainstream media have not abated, three years after the event. Though not widely reported, the recent sale of rice produced from the Fukushima area in Singapore raised concerns about the safety of products from the afflicted areas. Assuming that products sold have been screened for excessive radioactive elements, then the safety concerns should not be too alarming. The caveat is that science cannot really project potential hazards  that may only be apparent after a long time.

Another danger is possible government complicity in cover-ups of important data and information. Japan has already suffered many years of anaemic economic growth. The Japanese government has to do something to avert economic disaster. Hence Abe has to gag journalist reporting on Fukushima. Unfortunately, by making reports illegal, he reinforces the public’s suspicion that he has more to hide. Politicians care more of their power and existence than public good (read “When Leaders Lie“). This is of more concerns than the Fukushima produce per se.

In addition, commercial MNC’s only care about profit. In Fukushima’s case, the company, TEPCO responsible for the nuclear plants has not been forthcoming in their information. Like Mosanto and those involved in GM foods, their records for public safety are blemished. What will GM food do to us, we don’t really know. All we know is that if pests don’t eat them, there must be something we should be wary about. Again this is generalisation, what kills pests may not kill us. Scientists’ quest for knowledge is commendable, but the same cannot be said for profiteering oligarchs. Supermarkets today are packed with food that no longer resembles what food used to be like before the era of industrialisation. What then can we say when looking at the shelves at supermarkets? Are they any safer than Fukushima’s produce? Ultimately, the consumers have to discern – to eat, or not to eat?


Genesis 9:3

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

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