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Seaweed and Radioactivity

Recently we were sent a question about radiation levels in Seaweeds around the world...

"Hi Liz, thanks for the interesting read about Norwegian seaweed. I'm curious at to whether the Norwegian seaweed (and the UK one as well) is tested for radioactive readings? Post Fukishima I did a lot of research into nuclear contamination around the world, and it was my understanding that seaweed sequesters radiation. From memory, it's actually used to help 'mop it up'."

This is why we are so pleased to be in partnership with Seagreens who are world leaders in seaweed testing.

I sent her question on to them and this is Simon's detailed reply...

1. Levels of radioactivity in Seagreens® seaweeds 

Your customer may take confidence from the research provided by Seagreens because it covers our different seaweed species which are harvested both in the Nordic region (Norway and Iceland) and in the British Isles (Ireland and Scotland).

All results over the years 2008-2021 show no radioactivity detected in our seaweeds. The maximum levels of any radioactive element allowed have yet to be established by any authorities but they will become part of our standard if and when they are announced. The current detectable limit of radioactive material (that is, the smallest amount of radioactive elements which can be detected in the laboratory) is 10,000 bq/kg, which is an infinitesimal amount. 

The seaweed species we harvest are all independently tested by the same methods, by UKAS accredited laboratories, and they show less than a measurement of radioactivity of 10,000 bq/kg. Therefore, we show this minimum since we do not know how much less they contain. No doubt your customer will appreciate this is an honest appraisal of the current situation, and I am attaching part of an up-to-date spreadsheet (as PNG and as a PDF) showing these figures (near the bottom of the page on the left the title is Radioactivity. We test for radioactivity using 4 different mineral markers.

These standards form part of the Nutritious Food Seaweed Standard with which all Seagreens seaweeds and nutrition products comply. The Standard is certified independently by the Biodynamic Association established 1920, accredited by UKAS and monitored by DEFRA (the UK government Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs). NFS is the only standard in the world which requires such monitoring. It also requires a minimum nutritional profile and you have details of this for each of the Seagreens® products on your website.

2. Regarding seaweed from Norway

Norway is a very long way away from Japan and we have been involved in the seaweed industry in Norway since 1997. To my knowledge, there has never been any ‘fall out’ or effect on the seaweeds there from the radioactive materials from Chernobyl or from the Japanese incident at Fukushima. We were monitoring the radioactive content of our Norwegian seaweeds as early as 2000 and the Norwegian government has always conducted regular monitoring of the marine environment and marine pollution as they have a very large fishing industry. Since 2000 the levels have diminished but this is due to cleaning up the water quality of the North Sea by removing emissions and nuclear decay from localised nuclear reactors including those in UK waters, not in Russia or Japan.

Many scare stories have been circulated about radioactive moose and reindeer and other things from sea and land pollution but there is no scientific evidence for any of this in Norway that I know of. 

At the time of Fukushima, the Japanese government banned exports of Japanese seaweeds, but this is now permitted again. Contrary to logic, materials in the sea tend to be quite localised and unless there is a particular flow or current in a particular direction, such as the Gulf Stream northwest across the Atlantic, materials will not move from one area to another. This is why you have a huge build-up of plastics in certain areas, which do not disperse. From testing water quality, the sea is actually - in the main - remarkably clean and as it covers some 70% of the surface of the planet we had better keep it that way!

I hope this information will be of help and encouragement to your customer. Radioactivity is nowhere among the many problems created by pollution and contamination. 

You can see now why we are so proud to be working in partnership with Seagreens to bring to Australians the world's best Seaweed products for human health.

No other company has the impeccable standards of compliance and testing that the Seagreens products are submitted to.

You can find out which product would suit you on our Seaweed for People page.
Seagreens - Feed the Foundation of Health.

Blog post by Liz in partnership with Simon Ranger of Seagreens UK.


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