Matcha, radiation and food safety
More than 10 years ago, Japan was affected by a nuclear disaster in the Fukushima region in Northern Japan. Since then, we periodically hear concerns from customers and enquirers about radiation leaking into matcha products from Japan.
Even though we knew that most tea plantations are in Central and Southern Japan many hundreds of kilometres away, we ourselves were somewhat troubled by these circumstances when we were starting the business in 2016. We scoured the internet for answers, and also consulted farmers and suppliers about this matter.
Matcha and radiation
Thankfully, what we heard eased our concerns. The tea industry has been sensitive to such fears, and they usually offer to arrange radiation testing for buyers. As of 2022, many in the Japanese tea industry are much more relaxed about the matter as the testing has consistently shown negative results.
We still arrange radiation testing (along with other tests) for each crop of tea to be safe, and the results are available below. For economical reasons, we take samples of all the matcha products we offer and combine them. This combined sample is subject to radiation testing.
We are pleased to share that the testing did not detect radioactive isotopes.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan also actively tracks and tests samples of foods for radiation contamination and publishes the results online.
Please click this link (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_food_radioactive.html) if you wish to view the test results from the Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare of Japan.
Matcha and food safety
The facilities we use to mill and process the tea leaves into matcha powder are all FSSC 22000 certified.
What is FSSC 22000? It a quality mark that shows the facility meets high standards for food safety and quality. It involves annual audits and re-certification. It also requires processes to be put in place to eliminate foreseeable risks in the manufacturing process.
For matcha, this means processing lines that include equipment to detect impurities, and also includes testing the raw material and final product for hazards like pesticide residue, toxins, heavy metals, microbiological contamination (molds and bacteria), as well as foreign objects (metallic fragments, debris, etc).
What does is mean for you?
With all that said, we have high confidence that the matcha we offer is not only delicious and high quality, but also safe. We hope the above provided you with peace of mind as you enjoy matcha.