Reality is forcing consumers and businesses to make increasing use of their own initiative and of private sources. Will consumers continue to insist on more government assistance with food-safety checks? Will they continue to be disappointed with the results (too little, too late)? Will increasing numbers of consumers and local governments look elsewhere for help?

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Supermarket operators and other food retailers are increasingly conducting independent radiation checks on their products amid growing concerns among consumers about food safety.

Supermarket chain Ito-Yokado Co. has started strengthening radiation checks at its own farms, and many restaurant operators have bought radiation dosimeters and begun their own inspections.

These moves come after sales of Japanese beef at supermarkets tumbled following the discovery that cattle fed with rice straw tainted with radioactive cesium had been shipped to many parts of the country.

Ito-Yokado has conducted radiation checks on cow manure, rice husks and wood chips that had been used at its own farms until August in four locations in the Kanto region, including Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Tomisato, Chiba Prefecture. It has also used a third-party organization to check soil and unused manure at its farms.

Major supermarket operator Aeon Co. (8267) will ask a third-party organization to conduct radiation checks on rice produced in 2011 for its “Topvalu” private brand.

Kakiyasu Honten Co. (2294), which operates a chain of shops selling prepared food dishes, spent about 20 million yen to buy a germanium semiconductor detector that can pick up even low levels of radiation and recognize different types of radioactive substances. It started checks on beef on Aug. 12.

via 2011/08/20 20:21 – Retailers Begin Independent Radiation Checks.

Please note: “These moves come after sales of Japanese beef at supermarkets tumbled following the discovery that cattle fed with rice straw tainted with radioactive cesium had been shipped to many parts of the country.”

It did not take petitions, complaints, paperwork, committee-meetings to get these private checks. It merely took a tumble in sales. In other words, prices send the quickest signals, and businesses that run on profit and loss react quickly to those signals.