5 February, 2018
Usage Rate of Locally-Produced Materials in Fukushima Prefecture School Lunches Returns to Pre-Accident Levels
On February 1, Fukushima Prefecture announced that the usage rate of locally-produced materials in school lunches served at schools in its jurisdiction was 35.6 percent in fiscal year 2017, returning effectively to the level that had existed before the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants.
The rate had been 36.1 percent in FY10, but dropped to 18.3 percent in FY12, after the accident. Since then, though, the rate has been steadily recovering.
Fukushima Prefecture’s locally-produced rate for school lunches is already higher than the national average of twenty-five percent, with a target of forty percent set for FY20. Said the person in charge, “There are still parents who are concerned about this, and it is natural for them to be so. We will listen closely to them as we continue our inspections and public information activities.”
The ingredients used in lunches prepared at 310 facilities in the prefecture were checked item by item on five different days in both June and November, leading to the calculation of the locally-produced rate.
The prefecture also releases information about the results of tests for radioactive substances in the ingredients in school meals on the Internet and in school notices. It has invited parents and guardians to visit inspection sites and taste school meals. Those steady efforts appear to be having an effect.
In inspections made after the accident, the radioactive values for foods in Fukushima have never exceeded the national criteria. Indeed, the prefecture’s own standards are even stricter than the national ones.