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Abstract

The nuclear power plant accident resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake caused radioactive material pollution in fresh food. This issue has become a social problem. This article analyzes the need for testing by public administrators to investigate the presence of radioactive materials in food, especially fresh food offered for sale by various food retailers. In addition, this article compares the results of this test with the basic opinions and policies of each food retailer. Food retailers' methods of coping differ greatly. Many companies did in fact voluntarily test their purchased commodities for radioactive materials. Nevertheless, a program of public inspection would certainly provide consumers with additional confidence. This is especially required because consumer co-operatives face difficulties while dealing with radioactive material pollution. Because consumer co-operatives comprise a different type of consumers, and because many arable farmers, livestock farmers, and fishermen have joined consumer co-operatives in the Tohoku area, consumer co-operatives speculate about diminished sales in the event of conducting voluntary pollution tests on regional farmers' produce, milk, and fish. This dilemma is further complicated by the inadequate proof that voluntarily conducting such tests will in fact result in an increase in sales. However, without a sampling program, it will remain difficult to confirm food safety. Given the critical nature of a safe food supply, it is necessary to examine the issue of radioactive material pollution more closely.

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