View Report Details
An Assessment of Radiocaesium Activity Concentrations in Sheep in Restricted Areas of England and Wales and Potential Consumer Doses
Project Code: FS131011
Food Standards Agency
The aim of this project was to assess the levels of radiocaesium in sheep within the restricted areas and the potential consumer doses if control measures were to be lifted. The assessment will form the evidence base for a public consultation on a policy change in November 2011.
Low levels of radiocaesium persist in sheep throughout much of the restricted areas of Cumbria and North Wales, although consumer risks are considered to be very low.
The maximum observed radiocaesium activity concentration in sheep did not exceed 1,000 Bq/kg on over 97% of monitored farms in North Wales. On the small number of Welsh farms where sheep have the potential to exceed 1,000 Bq/kg of radiocaesium, no more than 2.5% are ever likely to do so. Standard practice is to fatten sheep on improved pasture prior to slaughter, which would reduce radiocaesium levels to well below 1,000 Bq/kg in most cases.
Two farms monitored in Cumbria had a very small percentage of sheep that exceeded 1,000 Bq/kg of radiocaesium. As in North Wales, the standard practice of fattening of sheep on improved pasture ensures that very few sheep if any, exceeding 1,000 Bq/kg of radiocaesium, will enter the food chain in Cumbria. No sheep in Cumbria has failed the Mark and Release monitoring criterion in recent years.
The 1,000 Bq/kg criterion enforced by the Mark and Release programme is equivalent to permitting a dose of 0.26 mSv per year to the Representative Person. The highest modelled dose to the Representative Person was 0.21 mSv per year. Monitoring against the 1,000 Bq/kg limit is therefore having a negligible impact on reducing consumer doses.
The level of consumer risk, if control measures were to be removed, is significantly less than the level of risk tolerated by the existing policy. The Mark and Release monitoring programme is therefore having a negligible impact on reducing consumer risk.
Some of the files on this site may be in a format that your computer can't read. However, you can download Readers and Viewers for the following document types below: