Previous nuclear incidents and accidents: Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

The accident culminated in significant releases of radioactive contaminants into the environment beginning March 12, 2011. The emissions were of significant domestic concern in Japan and resulted in low but measurable levels of radioactive contaminants world-wide. The damaged nuclear power reactors in Japan do not pose a health risk to residents of British Columbia or the rest of Canada.

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Monitoring Fukushima radiation levels

Health Canada continues to monitor and review radiation levels in Canada and worldwide, using its monitoring networks and its collaborative relationships with the international community.

Measurements from Health Canada's networks confirm that the quantities of radioactive materials that reached Canada as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident were very small and did not pose any health risk to Canadians.

Radiation in food, seafood and ocean water

Radiation levels resulting from the Fukushima accident are far below levels of concern to public health in Canada.

Health Canada actively supports the CFIA in its mandate for food safety by providing analytical support for testing radionuclides in food samples. Health Canada has developed action levels for specific radionuclides in food. These action levels can be applied during a radiation related emergency.

More than 200 food samples, from Japanese and domestic food products, were tested as part of the CFIA's sampling and testing strategy and all were found to be below Health Canada's actionable levels for radioactivity. This means that we did not find any evidence of radioactivity in any food products at levels of concern. This testing was done during different periods between March 2011 to October 2012 on a variety of products.

Food safety issues are a joint responsibility between the Provincial authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which regulates food producers. Health Canada is actively supporting the CFIA in its mandate for food safety which includes ensuring that radiation levels in food are below levels of concern.

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