Taiwan restaurant offers radiation checks

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:42pm EDT
 
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TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - One of Taiwan's top Japanese restaurants is offering diners the use of a radiation gauge before they eat in case of any nerves in the wake of Japan's nuclear disaster.

Diners at the upscale Peony in Taipei's Xinyi business and financial district can pick up the machine at the counter when they come in, check themselves for radiation or use it to check their food, general manager Catherine Yang told Reuters.

"I can give my customers a promise: if you eat at Peony I guarantee that everything you get will be the safest and the best," Yang said.

"Customers have found it really interesting, not many of them have seen radiation gauges, and many feel very reassured," she added.

The prospect of radiation releases after Japan's earthquake-triggered nuclear disaster has worried many in Taiwan, which is relatively close, has its own nuclear power plants and is, like Japan, prone to earthquakes.

Japanese food is also hugely popular on the island, where the nuclear energy body has stepped up monitoring of imported goods from Japan and is checking all arriving airline passengers from Japan for radiation levels.

Aside from slight radiation detected in a small shipment of broad beans over the weekend, which was, in any case, within legal limits, it has yet to find any contamination.

Yang noted there was a lack of knowledge about radiation among the public, and offering the gauge was as much about reassurance as checking food that has already been inspected by authorities, and does not come from the affected areas of Japan.

"Our head chef checked himself and wondered why his reading was higher than the fish and meat," she said. "But the fish and meat don't use computers or mobile phones all day and don't watch TV, so if they come from a safe place they are very safe to eat."

"Many people don't understand that there are small amounts of harmless radiation everywhere in everyday life."