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Officials have discovered trace levels of radioactive Iodine-131 in milk samples from Washington state and California, but stress that amounts are still 5,000 times lower than the limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. That should easy worry for consumers concerned that radiation from the damaged Fukushima plant in Japan will affect milk produced in the U.S.
"We don't make light of radiation. People want more information, but it's important to put things in context," Al Lundeen, spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) told Slashfood. "We have had a positive sampling of Iodine-131, but it was minuscule. It's a trace amount compared to other things like watching TV or flying on a plane, where people are also exposed to radiation."
According to the Associated Press, the FDA and EPA announced they had found radiation in milk from Spokane, Wash. on Friday, while the CDPH announced they found similar results from milk obtained at a dairy in San Luis Obispo County on Monday.
"We are going to continue to monitor the situation," said Lundeen. "We test milk because that's the food where radiation can be detected most quickly, but we're testing air samples as well. What we know now is the amount of radiation detected should not force people to hesitate to drink milk or anything else."