Zensho Co., operator of the Sukiya beef bowl chain, is taking no chances serving rice contaminated with radiation.
Zensho, the nation's largest restaurant operator, said Sept. 5 that samples of all newly harvested rice in Japan will be submitted for analysis at a laboratory in Kawasaki, a city outside Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture, before it allows the staple to be served in its restaurants.
The government has set a provisional safety standard of 500 becquerels per kilogram for radioactive cesium, but Zensho's screening criteria will be stricter.
The company already submits samples of meat, vegetables and other ingredients for analysis, but consumers have a particular interest in rice because it is a food staple.
"Consumers don't trust the government's safety standard at all," said a company representative. "We hope to offer the maximum reassurance to our customers."
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