Fresh Fish! Sliced and Diced! Tested for Radioactivity

Hundreds of pounds of freshly caught fish are express-mailed to a building in the small town of Onjuku, Japan, everyday. There, a team quickly slices and dices the fish into fillets. But this is no kitchen, and the fresh fish are definitely not for consumption.

The building belongs to the quasi-governmental Marine Ecology Research Institute, and they are testing the fish for radioactivity. 53% of the fish sampled near Fukushima in the first three months after the nuclear disaster tested above the safety limit. Now that number is only 2.2%.

Still, the lab is busy with work everyday. CBS News reports on what it's like to work there.

Onjuku is an old fishing port and a guide likes to point out that the locals are more adept at handling fish than researchers — so it's locals who work in the prep area. Clad in disposable aprons, retired fishermen and housewives photograph, measure and weigh each sample before getting down to business. Like practiced restaurant hands, they quickly trim away heads, fins, organs, skin and bones; only edible portions are checked for radiation. The relatively appetizing-looking fillets are then ground into unappetizing minced fish and packed in baggies.

"Sometimes we are tempted to take a bite," one employee tells us, adding that he resists the urge.

[CBS News]

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