Mar 212011
Authors: McClatchy-Tribune

LOS ANGELES — Concern over food contaminated by radiation from areas surrounding the troubled nuclear plant in Fukushima spread beyond Japan’s borders Monday with world health officials warning of the potential dangers posed by the tainted food and one Japanese restaurant in Taiwan serving up radiation gauges alongside its meals.

World Health Organization officials told reporters Monday that Japan should act quickly to ban food sales from areas around the damaged nuclear plant, saying radiation in food is more dangerous than radioactive particles in the air because of accumulation in the human body.

“Walking outside for a day and eating food repeatedly are two different things. This is why they’re going to have to take some decisions quickly in Japan to shut down and stop food being used completely from zones which they feel might be affected,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said, according to The Associated Press.

In a Q&A on its website, the organization advised that consuming food tainted with radioactive material, while indistinguishable to the naked eye, could lead to an increased likelihood of certain cancers. People living near the plant who may have consumed produce or animal products with radiation should seek medical attention, the organization said.

Japanese officials said over the weekend that higher-than-normal levels of radiation had been detected in milk, spinach and some water supplies from regions surrounding the nuclear plant damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. Officials have banned the sale of some food items at risk of contamination and advised residents of a village northeast of the plant not to drink tap water.

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