Concerns over food safety have increased as Japanese health officials found abnormal amounts of a radioactive substance in spinach, milk and two leafy vegetables grown in areas near the plant. Levels of radioactive iodine were up to seven times the legal limit in the samples taken in Chiba prefecture, to the east of Tokyo. Experts said the levels did not pose an immediate threat to human health but the finding could impact negatively Japan's agriculture.
A spokesman for the World Health Organization said on Monday that the discovery of radiation in food was a more serious problem than the organization first expected, Reuters reported. Peter Cordingley, a Manila-based spokesman for the W.H.O., said there was no evidence that contaminated food from Fukushima Prefecture had reached the export market.
Tokyo's tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has cesium. Rain and dust are also contaminated.
Early Monday, the health ministry advised Iitate, a village of 6,000 people about 30km northwest of the Fukushima plant, not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of iodine.
News agencies reported Monday that demand for fresh food products in supermarkets in Beijing have dropped significantly.