WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Scientists discovered a new ingredient in your favorite California red wine— radioactive particles from Japan.
- Traces of the radioactive particle Cesium-137 were found in red wines made any time after 2011.
- It is a result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown that subsequently created a radioactive cloud that reached across the Pacific on to the US west coast.
French nuclear physicists tested California wines produced between 2009 and 2012 for radioactive particle Cesium-137. Researchers who tested 18 bottles of rose and cabernet sauvignon using a gamma detector, discovered a higher level of contamination in red wines than in the bottles of rose. Additionally, some wines made after 2011 had twice as much radioactive particles.
However, contamination levels are below the threshold and pose “no health and safety concerns for California citizens”, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The contaminant is a result of the 2011 disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant that subsequently created a radioactive cloud that reached across the Pacific on to the US west coast.
The study was done to see if radioactive particles in the wines are higher after the nuclear disaster in Japan. In addition, they are interested to determine if the results would mirror what happened in Europe when researchers found elevated levels of radioactive particles in French wines after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.
Initially, the researchers made use of a gamma detector to scan unopened bottles, but the method was not sensitive enough to produce results. So they vaporized the wines to ashes and were able to detect twice as much amounts of Cesium-137 in the wines produced after 2011, than before. Much like the French wines tested after the Soviet nuclear disaster, there was also a higher level of contamination in red wines than rose.
According to SFGate, the technique of testing wines used in the study was pioneered by Philippe Hubert, a pharmacologist who, originally devised it to counter wine fraud and not for safety purposes. By scanning the radioactive signature of the wine, Hubert can determine, for example, French wines that claim to be produced before 1952 should not have detectable Cesium-137 because they were made before nuclear testings and explosions began.
Source: The Telegraph