What would Japanese cuisine be without rice? It's a question that has officials worried after detecting high levels of radiation in rice crops near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Preliminary tests on rice from paddies 35 miles from the plant found the crops contained 500 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, the maximum level of radiation that is safe for consumption under newly adopted Japanese food regulations. Officials have ordered further tests on rice in the area and may ban shipments from the region if they find similarly high radiation levels. Experts are frustrated that the government hasn't done more to regulate the food supply since the nuclear disaster and believe that eating radioactive foods could be particularly harmful to children and pregnant women. The government temporarily banned beef containing unusually high levels of radiation, then lifted the ban after further tests.
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