Why FDA refuses to test fish? And why don't you?


Why everyone is refusing to test fish and seafood caught near US? FDA is not even testing fish imported from Japan!

Do you plan to start monitoring fish? Or have you been banned to do so?

We may in the future test

We may in the future test some fish, but there are a few reasons why we have not tested any yet.

The ocean is big. Really big. It's true that fish near Japan were found to have fallout, but this is only because they are very close to where the plant is releasing them into the ocean. By the time the water gets to the US, it is extremely dilute. As it is, we have to count for a long time to see anything in the air or rainwater. We would expect there to be much, much less in the ocean.

We have been testing seaweed, thinking that the rain might have delivered fallout to the seaweed (which apparently likes to concentrate iodine). While the results aren't finalized yet, it doesn't look like we see any contamination in this seaweed.

Also, I really don't want to have to shove a smelly fish into my Marinelli beakers and then leave it sitting out unrefrigerated for a few days while we wait for the data.

Rest assured that we are not being banned from anything. This is a university lab, and we can do as we please. If you want to come visit us and very this for yourself, please feel free to drop by 1110B Etcheverry Hall during working hours and we'll show you around. You can even bring a fish if you promise to clean it up afterwards (seriously).

Tim [BRAWM Team Member]

Thank you for your comment.

Thank you for your comment. Few questions.

1. In your opinion fish/shellfish caught or farmed in pacific such as pacific or alaskan king salmon, farmed oyster off ca coast, or tuna is not contaminated with radiation? I picked these three examples as 1) salmon is in season and they swim in pacific then swim into rivers in alaska, ca, etc.; 2) ca oyster farmers have been claiming how clean their products and the water they farm the oysters; and 3) i learned that tuna constantly swim 50+ miles per hour, thus they can swim from and to the east end of pacific to here
in short time.

If the contamination in fish is really not at all a concern in your opinion, i would like to hear your explanation not just the dilution factor.

2. If the contamination is very much possible, i would be happy to provide samples such as the varieties i mentioned. And would be happy to clean the beakers after the test but you guys are the ones to have to be in the lab while test is being done so i am not quite sure if you are serious or not. If you are serious, how much of samples you require, a pound each or much more/less? I included my email and please feel free to respond directly or through this forum. Thank you and apologize for typo etc as i am using a mobile divise.

We expect the rain to be the

We expect the rain to be the primary route for contamination in the US. The jet stream is quite efficient in taking the plume from Japan to the west coast, and even there not much fallout reaches the ocean food chain. This is backed up by our recent seaweed data that was just posted, with a result of no detection.

Some studies suggest that elements like cesium actually do not accumulate as you progress higher in the food chain -- it is very dependent on the exact element and chemical state, of course, but this general observation is backed up by our milk data, which is ten times less active than the rain.

As far as sampling fish goes, we typically use pretty big amounts in order to get any readings -- as we've mentioned repeatedly, the amounts are indeed very small. We need to fill the beaker, which is over one liter, so we'd be talking like 3 lbs of sample.

Tim [BRAWM Team Member]

Tim, please reply.

Thank you.

When are you going to start testing fish?

Please let us know!


I would bet good money that government agencies are testing fish and all other foods--they just aren't going to release the data. Imagine what happens if the FDA tests some fish and publishes the results--results that most of the public will not understand (it's pretty hard to find more difficult units to deal with than used in this industry). They could ruin an entire commercial fishing industry overnight--an industry already suffering due to overfishing and increased protection of certain species. The agricultural lobby in America wields lots of power in Washington DC, especially in states where these enterprises are important to their economy. Here are some figures on their lobbying expenditures:

Food producers won’t do this on their own volition either–if they test their food, the public will interpret that as meaning it might not be safe and not buy their product. Or, they will find out it actually isn’t safe, with the same result. It’s also an additional cost, which makes the business that tests its food less competitive. The agricultural lobby has been very successful in preventing effective testing of beef.

We saw in the Deepwater Horizon disaster that our government gives high priority to keeping citizens calm, even to the point of lying. Imagine what would happen if Obama gave a speech and said that levels of radiation in California, Oregon, and Washington were dangerous? There would be widespread panic.

We can't expect UC Berkeley scientists to give up even more time testing fish. Imagine the potential variation between all the species sold on the market and where they came from and the amount of testing it would take to come up with meaningful results. They are doing this monitoring on their OWN TIME, in addition to their regular work and research obligations. And who is going to let them come and test their fish, with all the attendant potential consequences? They would probably need special permits.

At some level, we have to take responsibility for figuring out what risk is acceptable to each of us. You could buy frozen fish that has been caught outside of the plume zone if you are really worried. It sucks that we have to dig for information and hard data, but you have already found one of the best sources in the USA--right here.

Censorship in Works

There was a big article about contaminated sea water coming to the CA coast on yahoo few days ago. It was the top of all the news - for about 10 minutes! Then disappeared!! My husband saw it and told me, and I went to my computer to read it 5 minutes later and it was not there, not anywhere. It's not like I didn't know that our government lies and a certain level of media supression has always been there. But when you see it right in front of your eyes regarding the very topic you are most concerned about, it is very freaky and upsetting.

yahoo article

I don't disagree that there is a kind of censorship at work here. Radiation is invisible, unlike say oil spewing into the gulf... The government regulators are not providing comprehensive timely info and the media, most of which is corporate infotainment, are not covering the most important story in the world. Even NPR and many good independent internet newsources seem to have forgotten about the ongoing crisis.

That said, the Yahoo article you referred to was about tsunami debris, not nuclear contamination. Here is the link:


No, no.

It WAS about radiation contamination in sea water. We found a friend who printed it while it was there. It is completely gone from Internet.

We are considering it.

We are considering it.

I would strongly encourage

I would strongly encourage you to do this.

You definitely should check both fresh and saltwater fish

If the cesium dry and wet deposition numbers reported by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization are accurate (and I believe they have been reported by your teamm as consitent with your findings) then cesium has been deposited on lakes and rivers in California as wellas across the country. Small ponds and lakes would likley show results now if not very soon. So you should begin as soon as you can in my opinion.

I would add a few thoughts:

On NPR today I heard a researcher testing seafood in Louisiana talking about how the FDA initally said levels of BP contaminants were not found in oysters, crabs, shrimp, etc and later had to retract that there WWERE contaminants found but "below harmful levels". BUT as it turns out the FDA had INCREASED the threshold for "safe" levels by something like 2000 percent (20X) for the carcinogenic pollutants after the spill and detections.

In Japan Greenpeace is reporting that "safe" levels around Fukushima now have been raised by 200X so that civilians can now get the same dose that used to be permissible only for the nuke plant emergency workers.

Japan also raised the threshold for "contamination" of civilians in general so that remediative measures are only taken when someone receives doses tens or dozens of times higher than would have required decontamination a month ago.

THE EPA and FDA are trying to increase the "intervention" levels again here in the United States across the board for radionuclides, it has been reported on this board and on the Forbes Magazine environment newsblog (Jeff McMahon).

So testing the local fish to get baselines as well as to monitor the bioacumulation would be a VERY worthwhile endeavour. I am worried more about local fresh fish and migrating fish in our rivers right now but Tuna and other fish too must be tested soon as well as imported seafood for sushi etc.

How will we EVER know the true impact if there are no baselines or close to baselines and ongoing monitoring. IF the studies I mentioned in another post are accurate: fresh fish near CHernobyl were the most "efficient" bioaccumulators and I would imagine that may be true here too as dry deposits and wet deposits in lakes and ponds simply become part of the a food cycle in a microcosm in which the fish recycle everything with the plants (and birds and all the wildlife) but there is nowhere else for the cesium to go but into the food chain or pond and lake sediment.

SO - don't just consider doing it: do it. Its important and if you think about it a little it may actually result in some of the highest bioaccumulations outside of milk and much longer lasting. That was one result of the Chernobyl monitoring: fish had the highest levels in the food chain.

Thank you.

Thank you for considering. I do not think one needs to test every spiecie as radiation does not discriminate - if one spiecie is contaminated others are most likely contaminated as well.

I am originally from Japan and sushi is one of my favorite cuisine but no, I have not eaten any since late March. I just want to know where we stand at this point.

Thank you again for this and all your work!


That's funny considering what I just posted. You know, if salmon are contaminated, they would bring it right up every river on the west coast and up every tributary as far as they can get. Then it would follow pathways that have already been established using stable isotopes--into all the young salmon and into the terrestrial wildlife (bears, eagles, and about every critter you can think of), and into the soils from carcasses dragged onto land by the critters, and into the riparian vegetation. It's an interesting way that it would be spread inland from the coast.

Fish Anyone? Farralon Islands and other nuclear waste dumps

I believe the FDA refuses to test for radioactivity levels in fish due to confounding background levels already present from many sources.

After reading about the FDA's refusal, my research hauled up some disturbing information, especially for those of us who live in the SF Bay Area.
According to the USGS, SF Weekly and Mother Jones Magazine, the Farallon Islands and other sites have been used as nuclear waste dumps. Please see excerpt from my 5.21.11 blogpost below. You'll find active links to all sources in the blogpost,http://www.defyingdisaster.com/2011/04/farallon-islands-and-other-oceanic-radioactive-waste-dumps/


Long before Fukushima dumped millions of gallons of highly radioactive water into the sea, the oceans have been designated repositories for radioactive waste and fallout according to reports from the USGS and articles in the SF Weekly and Mother Jones.

Radioactive pollution sources include fallout from nuclear bomb tests, sunken nuclear-powered submarines, radioactive waste from the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory at Hunters Point Shipyard, sea burials for the USS Independence and other ships contaminated by radiological tests or fallout, fallen navigation satellites with radioactive generators aboard, and accidents and chronic emissions from nuclear reprocessing and power plants.

These as yet untallied radiation emitters should be added, along with oil leaks from uncapped wells and other sources, to the long official list of “background” radiation sources, so that the true, consequential total can be calculated. The following is from the USGS, SF Weekly, and Mother Jones Magazine.

First, the USGS:

Between 1946 and 1970, approximately 47,800 large barrels and other containers of radioactive waste were dumped in the ocean west of San Francisco. The containers were to be dumped at three designated sites, but they a litter sea floor area of at least 1,400 km2 known as the Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump.

The exact location of the containers and the potential hazard the containers pose to the environment are unknown.

From a SF Weekly article, May 9, 2001

Newly released documents indicate the Navy dumped far more nuclear waste than it’s ever acknowledged in a major commercial fishery just 30 miles west of San Francisco. Why won’t the government even study the Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Site?

To read on...http://www.defyingdisaster.com/2011/04/farallon-islands-and-other-oceanic-radioactive-waste-dumps/

I read that article too.

I read that article too. The Farallon Islands really should get a lot more public attention as should Hanford, Washington. Regarding the islands, the gov't has made several promises to test, even funded testing, and then failed to follow-through. Typical.

After Chernobil the max

After Chernobil the max bioacumulation in fish was SIX MONTH LATER...
It is the time it takes to go up in the trophic chain.

Long-Term Observation of

Long-Term Observation of Radioactivity Contamination in Fish around
A.N.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences
Leninski pr. 33, Moscow, 117071, Russia: platon@genome.eimb.relarn.ru


Dynamics of 137Cs accumulation by marketable fishes in different kinds of water bodies (cooling pond,water reservoir, lake) polluted by radionuclides after the Chernobyl accident has been studied.

The highest concentration of 137Cs, reaching 500 kBq/kg w.w. (wet weight) was registered in fish inhabiting the cooling pond of ChNPP in 1986. During the last 15 years the level of radionuclides in fishes of all water bodies came down, but rates of lowering are different. Peculiarities of 137Cs accumulation by fishes depending on the trophic level have been revealed.
During the first months after the Chernobyl accident the concentration of 137Cs in peaceable species of fishes in Kiev Reservoir was by 10 times higher than in pike. After 1987 predatory fishes have the concentration of
137Cs by 2-3 times higher than peaceable fishes. Higher indices have been marked in pike and large perches. By 2001 the content of 137Cs in fishes in the cooling pond did not exceed 5 kBq/kg w.w., in River Teterev – 0.09 kBq/kg w.w., in Kiev Reservoir – 0.5 kBq/kg w.w. High content of 137Cs
remained in the lakes of Bryansk region of Russia and in Mogilev region of Belorussia, which have low content of +K in water and stagnant water, although these lakes are situated 100 - 200 km from the place of the accident. Biological effects of fishes in morphology of body and reproductive system have been marked in all studied water bodies. The largest quantity of abnormalities in the reproductive system has been marked in predatory fishes.

The troubles at hand.

I think in each and every person there is a worry deep down inside of not being in control from the foods you eat and things you do it's just normal to want to know what's going on to find out when to seek out the truth of everything and everyone what's happening here what's happening there to be informed. but it's knowing the truth that can change anything of the way you feel, and knowing the truth even knowing the real truth cant change anything at all. let's say the fish are contaminated and you have 8 seafood, seafood that has been contaminated will you live any longer? why worry what's inside of your body what's inside of your mind is what makes you worry. thousands and thousands and thousands of people have passed away in this century, women children,men,fathers,mothers,grandmother's,grandfathers!"I guarantee 100 percent of each and every 1 of us will not make it past another century and a half" 1 thing we all know for sure is the death non discriminatory, from the youngest child to the oldest living person it will soon come to pass prolonging it does not make it obsolete. be at peace in your mind and your heart. be at peace with your friends and family most of all be at peace with GOD! and as for those that are trying to find earth's mysteries, wonders and troubles remember your time is limited here. That's a guarantee. the fate of this earth is sealed, and if you are 1 of those GODLESS woman and men who wonder this earth I pray that you do find the answers to your troubles and worries in youre short short mortal life. May the good GOD JEHOVA bless the lives of those who believe in him and his son JESUS CHRIST, and may He have mercy on those that do not believe. HEAR this, all peoples; give ear all inhabitants of the world both low and high rich and poor together. My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.Why should I fear in the days of evil, when iniquity at my heels surrounds me? those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give god a ransom for him for the redemption of their soul is costly, and it shall cease forever that he should continue to live eternally and not see the pit. For he sees wise men die; likewise the fool and senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dweling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. nevertheless man though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beast the perish.
this is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve there sayings.
like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,for He shall recive me. do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
for when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
his glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light. A man who is in honor, yet does not understand is like the beast that perish.