Current Events Assignment
Earthquake in Japan
On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Japan, causing widespread and serious damage to infrastructure and to human life. A massive earthquake-triggered tsunami followed, washing away large parts of several coastal cities
The recent tragedy in Japan will affect the global food supply and might just be the event that triggers the reverse of our dependence on Asia for cheap foods. Americans might complain about the increase in food prices but will pay for the safety of their food supply. In a current quick poll on SupermarketGuru.com, 82 percent of those who have already taken the survey report that since the earthquake/tsunami in Japan they are concerned about the safety of foods coming from this part of the world. Three in four people surveyed are concerned about radioactivity, and 65 percent are concerned about general food safety issues. Over half the respondents say that as a result of the earthquake, foods imported from Asia will be more expensive; but only one out of four say there will be stricter standards for safety and more testing. On our Supermarket Guru fan page on Facebook, Kerry Stessel says, “We need new toxcicity labels on all imported food products.”
This past Monday, the government ordered Fukushima prefecture, the site of the troubled nuclear power plant, as well as several neighboring prefectures to suspend shipments of spinach and rapeseed after radiation exceeding regulated safety limits was detected in some produce. The government also banned sales of raw milk produced in this region. On our end, the FDA is monitoring Japanese food for radiation contamination, which “may include increased and targeted product sampling." Seafood, snack foods and processed produce from Japan represent less than four percent of all food imported into the U.S., and products already in the country are safe because they shipped prior to the incident.
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