‘Whale meat served in school lunches in an area of rural Japan is contaminated with alarming levels of mercury, a local assemblyman said today, calling for a halt in plans for the meat to be shipped to schools nationwide.
Hisato Ryono, a assemblyman in Taiji, a historic whaling town some 450km west of Tokyo, said two samples of short-finned pilot whale had mercury levels 10 to 16 times more than advised by the Health Ministry.
The samples, bought from two local supermarkets, also had 10-12 times more methyl mercury than advised levels, he said.
Mr Ryono and a fellow assemblyman conducted tests after local authorities ignored their calls to have the whalemeat inspected before it was served in school lunches in the town’s kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools.
“We were shocked that it continued to be served in school lunches,” Mr Ryono.’