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Food Contamination Fears Could Harm Japanese Brands

Japan’s list of casualties, already long, could soon include two of the country’s iconic brands: sushi and Kobe beef.

Japan's list of casualties, already long, could soon include two of the country’s iconic brands: sushi and Kobe beef.

Garlic chives in a greenhouse in Yamamoto Town in Miyagi Prefecture. The area is under fear of radioactive contamination.

The Japanese Health Ministry said that it had detected elevated levels of radiation in spinach and milk at farms up to 90 miles from Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors. The ministry did not make reference to any contaminated farm animals, seafood or fishing grounds in Japan. And no food exports from Japan have failed quality tests being done by other countries.

But even the perception of contamination, one Japanese agriculture expert says, could cause long-lasting “brand damage,” especially if there was evidence of radiation spreading across Japan.

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