Third party testing is an effective way to assess safety and quality of agricultural products. Over the years, we have developed relationships with labs having the capabilities to conduct tests for nutritional content, heavy metal concentrations, agrochemical residues, and radioactivity. We are always willing to share data from previous testing or submit samples at the request of our customers.
On a more somber note, even now, a few years beyond the Fukushima tsunami and resulting disaster, the situation is still not totally resolved. We understand many people are still concerned about environmental effects and the safety of Japanese agricultural products.
Mandatory radiation testing is no longer in place by the Japanese government. However, the government of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan annually samples tea grown in different regions of the prefecture. We also voluntarily submit our teas to a third party inspection organization for radiation contamination testing. The test results confirm that Sugimoto America green tea is safe. Below are the results from our most recent tests:
Water-soluble nutrients in leaves (20-30%)
|Radioactive Cesium (total amount)||Bq/kg||Not detected|
Test Results on Tea Infusion: Neither radioactive Iodine nor Cesium was detected.
For all agricultural products, including tea, Japan’s allowable levels for radiation became more stringent after the 2011 disaster. Below is a comparison of historical and current maximum allowable levels for Japan and other organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and European Union (EU), shown in the table below.
Maximum Allowable Radionuclide Limits by Country/Agency
All values in Becquerels / kilogram (Bq/kg)
|Dried Tea Leaves*||Infused Tea**|
|Japan 2012†||N/A (2,000)||100 (500)||N/A (300)||10 (200)|
|US FDA 2013||170||1,200||170||1,200|
- * For agencies with no defined limit for dried tea leaves, values for vegetables or “all components of diet” were used.
- ** For agencies with no defined limit for infused tea, values for liquid foods or “all components of diet” were used.
- † Values for Japan in parentheses () are historical limits (i.e. time up to the Fukushima disaster).
- ‡ Some agencies have ceased setting limits for the Iodine-131 radionuclide due to its short half-life.
Our data were culled from the following web sources:
- Shizuoka Prefectural Government (2013) “Results of Tests for Radioactivity of Tea Produced in Shizuoka Prefecture in FY 2013” http://www.pref.shizuoka.jp/sangyou/sa-340/cha/documents/h25firstflash_testresult_eng.pdf
- Japan Food Safety Commission (2012) 東北地方太平洋沖地震の原子力発電所への影響と食品の安全性について (in Japanese) http://www.fsc.go.jp/sonota/emerg/emerg_genshiro_20110316.pdf
- Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2013) 東日本大震災関連情報 – 食品中の放射性物質への対応 (in Japanese) http://www.mhlw.go.jp/shinsai_jouhou/shokuhin.html
- Wikipedia (2013) “Radiation effects from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Press Release (2011) http://www.citizens.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IPPNW-2011-Report.pdf
- International Atomic Energy Agency Bulletin (1996) “Nuclear and radiation safety:
Guidance for emergency response” http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull381/38102682327.pdf
- Codex Fact Sheet (2011) Codex Guideline Levels for Radionuclides in Foods Contaminated Following a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency http://www.fao.org/crisis/27242-0bfef658358a6ed53980a5eb5c80685ef.pdf
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2013) Radionuclides in Imported Foods – Levels of Concern http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/UCM074576