I ate sushi last night at the extraordinary Japanese restaurant Sushi of Gari. Now that I’ve read this story by William Neuman and Florence Fabricant in the New York Times I’m wishing I’d brought along a Geiger counter. The photo is essential, so NYT, we hereby claim fair use:
Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin, the high temple of seafood in Manhattan, bought a new kitchen gadget a few days ago: a radiation detector.
“I just want to make sure whatever we use is safe,” said Mr. Ripert, whose staff is using the device to screen every item of food that enters the restaurant, regardless of its origin. He has also stopped buying fish from Japan, which means no high-quality, farm-raised hamachi and kampachi for raw seafood dishes.
“Nobody knows how the currents will carry the contaminated water,” he said.
Despite assurances by health officials that radiation from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is unlikely to show up in the food supply, worries about contaminated foods are growing among consumers, businesses and governments across the globe.
On Tuesday, the Japanese government announced new radiation standards for fish after high levels of radioactive iodine and cesium were found in fish caught halfway between the reactor site and Tokyo. In response, the European Union said it would tighten its own radiation limits for Japanese food imports. India said it would ban all food from Japan for at least three months.
In the United States, where about 4 percent of food imports come from Japan, the Food and Drug Administration has restricted some foods from the country. And the agency is working with customs officials to screen incoming fish and other food for traces of radiation.
So far, that screening has identified seven items that required further testing to see if the radiation detected exceeded normal background levels, according to Siobhan Delancey, an F.D.A. spokeswoman…
[continues in the New York Times]