VOLODYMYR LAPA, Head State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumers Protection: On the radioactive contamination of milk and the article in The Independent

Everything is very bad. It is difficult to avoid such an impression when reading the article about contamination of Ukrainian milk with radionuclides. Exceeding the norm five times is not a joke.

Let’s look at this matter. In the title of the article in Ukrainian language it looks like it is about all the milk from Ukraine, and the same in the original title in The Independent (Ukrainian cow milk has “five times safe level of radioactivity”, study finds).

In the text it goes about some regions. Logical question arises – what are these regions? The answer to this question is on the website of the Ukrainian Research Institute of Agricultural Radiology, which participated in the relevant scientific research.

The issue relates to “critical settlements”, mainly in the Rivne region. That is, locations that suffered the greatest radiation damage. And far not all  the samples there show excess of the norm.

Let’s go further. In Ukraine, the hygiene norms for radionuclides are approved by the Order of the Ministry of Health # 256 of 03.05.2006. Let’s take for example the standard for cesium-137. Indeed, for raw milk and a number of dairy products, it is set at 100 Bq / kg, for butter and cheese 200, for milk powder – 500.

Now let’s take the European legislation, EU Regulation 2016/52. The permissible contamination of dairy products with radionuclides of cesium group – 1000 Bq / kg. It’s not about only 137 cesium, but in the case of Ukraine just this is the main risk factor.

So, what is the outcome of our considerations. In the worst milk samples taken in the most affected settlements (and not in the regions!), the content of radionuclides in milk is twice lower than the permissible standards in the EU.

That’s how the headline of this article in Ukraine should look.

facebook, Volodymyr Lapa

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