Misawa Food Supply Safe

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- It has been ten months since the devastating 9.0 earthquake that caused tsunami and the nuclear crisis at Fukushima. While Misawa Air Base was fortunate in that it suffered only relatively minor structural damage, several members of its community still harbor concerns related to events in the aftermath of the triple disaster. The majority of the concerns pertain to the safety of the base food supply, specifically related to potential contamination from radiation. Misawa residents should not worry, since there is no increased risk to eating any food sold on base.

All food sold in the Commissary or base eating establishments are either shipped from the United States or come from approved local sources. Additionally, the U.S. Army Veterinary Command, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of food for military bases in Japan, performs extensive testing and surveillance for radiation, bacteria, and other forms of contamination. Moreover, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron's Public Health Flight performs daily inspections on food shipped to the Commissary and routinely ensures that all eating establishments on Misawa AB are complying with food codes.

The Government of Japan's Ministry of Health has also been incredibly responsive to concerns about its nation's food safety. Since the nuclear crisis began, no food arising from the vicinity of Fukushima has been allowed to be exported or sold. Additionally, the GoJ has been conducting extensive radioactive testing of its own to ensure that no contaminated foods are released to the public. In late September of last year, when slightly elevated levels of radioactivity were detected in beef from some prefectures near Fukushima, the GoJ responded swiftly, removing at-risk beef from the market and expanding its radioactivity testing. Since then, no elevated levels of radiation have been detected in meats in the Aomori Prefecture.

Now, nearly a year later, the stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima has been shut down and the nation of Japan continues to recover and rebuild. Moreover, the GoJ has designated several foods as safe for consumption, including the famed Aomori apples. While the memory of the harrowing events of March 11 are fading for most Misawa Air Base residents some fears still linger. Though there may be uncertainty over the potential for another large earthquake, there should be no doubt about the safety of Misawa's food. The food health risk today is the same as it was prior to the earthquake.

Foods produced in Aomori Prefecture which are designated safe by the GoJ Ministry of Health:
(All foods on Misawa AB are safe)

   - Beef

   - Rice Straw
   - Brown Rice
   - Paddy Rice
   - Wheat
   - Buckwheat

   - Irish Potato
   - Chinese Yam
   - Sweet Corn
   - Beans
   - Soybean
   - Green Soybean
   - Japanese Radish
   - Small Radish 
   - Carrot, Burdock
   - Cabbage
   - Spinach
   - Broccoli
   - Lettuce
   - Green Onion
   - Tomatoes
   - Cucumber
   - Pumpkin
   - Apple
   - Garlic
   - Melon
   - Watermelon
   - Strawberry
   - Pear
   - Peach
   - Grapes
   - Cranberry
   - Plum
   - Mushroom
   - Cooking Chrysanthemum 

Dairy Products
   - Milk
   - Eggs 

Sea Food
   - Mackerel
   - Black Mackerel
   - Shark
   - Flatfish
   - Yellowtail 
   - Tuna,
   - Yellow Fin Tuna
   - Sagittated Calamari
   - Sea Urchin
   - Ear Shell
   - Ark Shell
   - Scallop
   - Sea Tangle

For more information, visit the following websites:

U.S. Embassy of Tokyo website

U.S. Army VETCOM approved sources list, Japan