Small Amount of Radioactive Contamination Found in Shipment of Tea From Japan

Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, radioactive contaminants have periodically been discovered in food imports from Japan


The sample of powdered tea had a small amount of radioactive contamination. (Photo Modified: Flickr/

A sample of powdered tea that was imported from Chiba, Japan to Hong Kong was found to contain a small amount of radioactive cesium 137, a contaminant from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, reports The New York Times. The sample contained .93 percent of the legal limit.

Hong Kong’s limits for radioactive materials in food are “low and stringent,” the Times indicated.

It is not the first time that the Hong Kong government discovered imported items from Japan with “unsatisfactory” levels of radioactive contaminants. Earlier culprits have included several samples of vegetables from Japan, as well as other food and tea samples.

In the months following the events of Fukushima, officials found radioactive contaminants in samples from tea plants, which can live for at least 30 years, and sometimes longer.

The contaminated tea was voluntarily withdrawn from the market by the importer. 

Editor's note: Per The New York Times, an earlier version of this story misstated the contamination level as 9.3 times the legal amount. In fact, the sample had .93 percent of the legal limit.

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