We're glad to announce reassuring results from our third round of radiation tests.
Last year, we tested our seafood for radiation from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, twice.
Fortunately, the results of our first two test rounds were also reassuring ... see "2012 tests proved our seafood safe”, below.
(Somewhat to our surprise, Vital Choice remains the only retailer to reveal the results of radiation tests on Pacific seafood.)
Recent reports of new – albeit far smaller – leaks from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant prompted contacts from concerned customers.
When, earlier this month, we sent off fish samples for a third round of tests we hoped for – and fully expected – more good results.
Why did we remain optimistic?
Dilution and distance should protect the purity of seafood caught more than 100 miles east of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant ... much less fish like ours, caught 1,000 to 3,000 miles from that coast.
Those predictions even encompass species that may swim through eastbound Japan-to-U.S. currents.
Encouragingly, the consensus scientific view now enjoys support from three rounds of tests on Vital Choice Pacific seafood.
2012 tests proved reassuring
Sadly, U.S agencies have done little or no testing of Pacific seafood following the Fukushima accident, or more recently.
So we decided to test our own seafood, to ensure its safety for our customers ... and our own families.
We reported the first radiation test results on March 31, 2012 … see "Vital Choice Fish Pass the Test with Flying Colors
As we reported, both series of tests found only normal, safe levels of the specific radioisotopes associated with the Fukushima nuclear accident: Cesium-134, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131.
New, Sept. 2013 test results prove reassuring
We've just retested our Pacific fish species for Cesium-134, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131.
Radiation-detection experts at Eurofins Laboratories analyzed samples of our primary wild Alaskan and Pacific seafood products. (Eurofins performs radiation tests for major official and private clients, worldwide.)
Reassuringly, the new tests found none of these Fukushima-related radionuclides in any of our fish samples.
We've compared the test results to the FDA's safety limits called the Derived Intervention Level (DIL):
Cesium-134: None detected (<1.0 Bq/kg*)
Cesium-137: None detected (<1.0 Bq/kg*)
*1.0 Bq/kg is less than one percent (0.08%) of the FDA's safety limit (DIL) for Cesium-134 + 137 levels in foods (1200 Bq/kg).
Iodine-131: None detected (<2.0 Bq/kg**)
**2.0 Bq/kg is less than two percent (1.2%) of the FDA's safety limit (DIL) for Iodine-131 (170 Bq/kg).
Iodine-131 poses no real risk anyway, because it decays to totally safe forms within about two weeks after its creation in a nuclear plant.
Why leave shellfish out?
Shellfish eat mostly plankton and plant matter in their immediate local, which can't accumulate significant amounts of radiation.
Our shellfish also live too briefly and too far from Japan to absorb significant amounts of radioisotopes from ocean water … a view widely held in the scientific community and supported by our first two test rounds.
Accordingly, we did not retest our Pacific shellfish (prawns, scallops, and crab).
Enjoy Vital Choice seafood, worry free
We think it makes good sense to continue enjoying the culinary and health benefits of our Pacific seafood.
Should credible evidence emerge that questions its safety – which appears very unlikely – we will act to alert our customers and protect them from harm by pulling any affected products.
As we say there, "No matter how the situation in Japan evolves over time, we will ensure that all products we sell meet high standards of purity and safety. After all, Vital Choice families are among the largest consumers of our own fish.”
The Internet echo chamber
You can't trust everything you see on the Internet.
For example, we've received emails from several people worried by seemingly scary Japan-related information seen on a website.
Almost invariably, these scary posts were written by someone lacking expertise in the relevant fields: radiation in human health, Pacific currents, dilution rates of radioisotopes, fish migration routes, and the accumulation and persistence of radioisotopes in fish.
Most recently, some bloggers have misrepresented the meaning of a graphic from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmosperhic Administration (NOAA) ... a myth that's gone viral.
These bloggers claim that the NOAA graphic shows the flow of radiation from Japan.
However, that claim is easily debunked, as in a post titled "Fukushima Emergency
” at the fact-check website Snopes.com.
In fact, the alleged "radiation flow” map is NOAA's map of Pacific wave heights following the 2011 earthquake ... look for the height-spectrum scale at its right-hand side.
Yet, the NOAA wave map continues to spread, mislabeled, to mislead millions.