Concern over radiation exposure triggered by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is widely shared among the residents of Fukushima Prefecture. They live with constant fear of internal and external exposure to radiation. Consumers are careful about what they purchase and consume and at the same time, suppliers are required to take extra care in assuring the safety of what they produce. As a result, in Fukushima Prefecture more and more institutions that deal with food have chosen to have themselves equipped with radiation dosimeters for food items. Those who cannot afford purchasing the device have to go to public institutions to examine their products and ingredients they use, which put extra logistical burden on them. This is why AAR Japan has decided to provide radiation dosimeter to several workshop facilities for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) including Elle Shirakawa Wakuwaku Bread Factory as a part of its support to PWDs affected by the 3.11 disaster.
Elle Shirakawa Wakuwaku Bread Factory provides vocational training and working opportunities to PWDs, mainly those with intellectual disabilities. The facility users are engaged in baking and selling of bread as a part of their way of participation to the society. They produce as much as 20 kinds of bread that are sold at various places such as shopping center, supermarket and kiosks around Shirakawa Station in Shirakawa City, Fukushima Prefecture. In order to ensure the safety of their products, the bread factory had been procuring only ingredients that were labeled to have low level of radiation, since the facility was not capable of carrying out safety examination on its own. With the set of radiation dosimeter provided by AAR Japan in August 2013, the facility is now able to measure the radiation level of the ingredients they purchased and also of their own products, which enables them to guarantee the safety of what they produce. The neighboring households also bring in vegetables and fruits they purchase, instead of going far to examine the safety of food. Since the factory is planning to open a new facility for PWDs which deals with dried sweet potatoes next year, the radiation dosimeter installed will continue to be a useful device for the facility.
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