"Hand-Screened for Radioactivity" Is Going to Be the New "Grown Locally"

If you're willing to throw down $140 for the tasting menu at Le Bernardin—perhaps the greatest seafood-oriented restaurant in the country, with three Michelin stars and four from the NYT—you can nom on the fluke sashimi without worrying about radioactive contamination.

That's because in addition to no longer sourcing seafood from Japan, chef Eric Ripert's now hand-screening all of the fish coming into the restaurant for radioactive contamination. Will it make patrons feel better while simultaneously subtly inducing more panic? Yes.

Expect this kind of thing to become de rigueur at any place that professes to care about the provenance of its food—well-regarded Sushi Yasuda in NY is already following suit—even as a senior scientist at the FDA tells the NYT, "Is that one fish at the intervention level a public health concern? No, it is not." And another scientist, a professor of marine sciences at SUNY Stony Brook adds that, given the current levels of cesium 137 detected in Japanese fish, you can eat around 35 pounds of it a year and be fine.

But yes, if you're willing to pay for organic beef grown on a particular farm and fed only the finest non-additive grass and massaged daily for all-natural marbling, you can also procure hand-screened, non-radioactive fish. You're paying for it, after all. Me? I like pork better anyway. [NYT]