With the ongoing reports of increasing and spreading radioactivity from several of Japan's nuclear reactors, a lot of people are becoming worried about radioactivity in their food. Yes, it's true that radioactive material in the air can not only get into the body directly, but also indirectly, through food and drinking water. Radiation can be washed down by rain into the soil where food grows, into waters where fish live, and onto grass where cows graze.
The experts say that cow's milk, dairy foods and fresh fruits and vegetables will be especially vulnerable in this sort of situation. Those most at risk are young children and unborn babies. Radioactive materials in sufficiently large doses can cause various types of cancer and abnormalities to the fetus.
Right now, people living in Japan are of course most likely to be at risk both from direct exposure and from their food. However, it is likely that the radioactive plume will be carried to other countries as well, though with lower levels of radioactive materials.
But what about countries which import fresh and processed foods from Japan? Reuters reports that Asian nations nearby, such as India, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore and the Philippines have ordered that imported Japanese foods be tested for radioactivity. It looks like China may start to do the same.
What about nations in Europe and countries such as Russia, Britain, the U.S. and Canada? I haven't seen any reports yet, but it is likely that similar precautions will be taken. If anything is found, such imports will be banned.
In the meantime, I don't see any reason for those of us living outside Japan to worry about imported Japanese foods. We don't need to avoid eating in a Japanese restaurant either. (I have noticed that some in my neighborhood seem to be emptier than usual.) Anything from Japan that they are serving currently would have come before the recent earthquake, Tsunami and related radiation leaks (there are too many logistical problems at present for much export to take place). And as for irradiated food, it has nothing to do with irradiation.