Loki samples show no radiation danger


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
January 9, 2014

An American fishing company is citing a new report that shows analysis of salmon it harvested in 2013 revealed no signs of elevated radiation levels, despite reports of radiation released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima, Japan.

Loki Fish Co., of Seattle, sent samples of five different salmon species — pink, keta, coho, sockeye and king salmon — harvested in Puget Sound and Alaska in 2013 to Eurofins Analytical Laboratories of Metaire, La., for testing.

Concerns about contamination of fish stocks has prompted both South Korea and other nations to either ban or otherwise restrict imports of Japanese seafood. Loki, in a statement, noted that there is no official evidence that any of the seafood in the North Pacific is unsafe by American standards, but "customer concerns" fueled by "unsubstantiated Internet rumors" prompted the company to conduct the testing.

"As fishing families who put salmon on the table of consumers, we are as concerned as anyone about the health of our marine ecology," said Pete Knutson, fisherman and co-owner of Loki. "We have long been active in environmental issues which affect salmon stocks and believe that environmental defense needs to be driven by science, not fear. "

In all, the lab tested seven different samples for Cesium 134, Cesium 137 and Iodine 131, all radioactive elements that could have leaked into the Pacific from the Japanese nuclear power plants crippled by the earthquake and tsunami disaster of 2011. According to Loki, the lab found that five samples did not register any of the elements at all, while a keta sample tested positive for Cesium 137 and a pink salmon sample tested positive for Cesium 134.

According the Loki, the lab said there were nothing more than "trace levels" of the elements, however. The levels in both samples came in at under 1.5 Becqurels per kilogram (Bq/kg), a standard measurement of radioactive particles. Citing data from the department of nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, Loki noted that the FDA sets an unsafe limit at 370 Bq/kg, and that similar radioactive elements, or radionuclides, are common in everyday foods at trace levels. Bananas, for example, often test at levels around 130 Bq/kg for potassium-40, another radioactive element.

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