Over the years the Oceans of out planet have borne the brunt of many negative headline events. These have had a broad range of impacts on marine life, and as we will consider in this article, also on edible seaweed types.
A number of our Readers have raised questions around this valid concern over the years. Many have come through our Sea Moss articles in the comments section. The common thread that people seem to be coming back to is on the Fukushima Dai’ichi fallout.
As the most prominent of events in recent times, there have been others that should be taken into consideration. We will look more closely at some of these in a later article.
Given that we focus very heavily on Sea Moss, we have had the questions about the possibility of a Sea Moss allergy being a real thing. This may be the case for some people. However, it is more likely that a reaction is connected to some form of seaweed contamination.
So, let’s get into a few of the prominent questions about the safety of eating seaweed, and how these events have impacted various edible seaweed types.
Fukushima Impacts on Edible Seaweed Types
15th January, 2020
What are your thoughts about the Fukushima fallout and how safe it is to eat seaweed from this part of the world?Lindsay
That’s a fair concern that you raise, Lindsay. Given that the disaster was arguably of a scale that the world has not seen since the days of Chernobyl, or Three Mile Island, it is hard to be precise on when the radiation will diminish to the point that it will be negligible. The NOAA released some models that show what the anticipated contamination levels and path may look like. 
There are reports that the clean up works engaged in have seen impressive results and that the monitoring of the sea water by the IAEA are looking positive. But when it comes to sources of information on a subject like this, who do you trust? [2, 3]
Reading accounts of concerns around more recent events connected to this disaster, such as that of Tetsu Nozaki, the road to recovery has been a tough one. According to this article, the IAEA have recommended that the contaminated waters currently held on site be released into the ocean. 
The argument put forth here by Tetsu Nozaki is that it is not so much about the levels of radiation as it is about the perception of the matter, and the damage arising from the actions of Tokyo Electric Power on the local fishing industry.
All vested interests aside here, there is some promising data coming from a number of sources that shows the radiation levels are lower than in other areas where this is not a published concern. But I’ll ask the question again, who do you trust?
Would I eat Sea Moss or other edible seaweed types from this part of the world?
Honestly, I would be reluctant unless I had commissioned tests on the seaweed myself through a lab that was not connected with any parties that had a vested interest. But I would say that of anywhere else on the planet too.
I think it is very safe and reasonable to say that there will be a contingent of people who will have concerns about anything coming from the water in this part of the world.
Given that we source our products from areas that were not geographically placed in the path of the fallout, we are confident that our Sea Moss is not contaminated. And our lab tests have not indicated that there are any such concerns. We have each harvest assessed by an independent laboratory.
What did the path of the Fallout look like?
19th April, 2019
Hi I’ve been look for somewhere to buy Sea Moss that is good. You said a few thing heer that make me think. I don’t want bad Sea Moss. When you sell? You have no store online?Aalaa Saadeddin
Hello Aalaa, thank you for your question.
We will have our store set up soon so you can buy Sea Moss online with us. Currently, we are only supplying a few retailers in Australia with our Sea Moss, and the people using it are giving us good feedback. Note: we have since launched our online store.
You are right in saying that it is important to know the quality of the seaweed can be trusted. If you are getting something that comes from areas that are not suitable, you may have something that is not so good on your hands.
We have been working very hard with Seaweed Farmers from a number of countries which are in some very safe locations. The quality of the Oceans in these areas is very good.
Many people ask me about the dangers related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and if this could be something that has an impact on their Sea Moss. It is possible, so you need to know that what you are getting is not coming from a country where this was a problem. 
There is information about the plume modeling after the accident from the NOAA which indicates that immediately after the incident that the fallout was of direct impact on waters and countries to the west of Japan. 
Understandably, the Ocean’s currents are consistently moving, and this information does not reflect the current day radioactivity levels in the oceans of the Planet as a result.
We do this by having samples for each batch tested for a range of elements, heavy metals, toxins, pathogenic microorganisms (and their toxins). If a sample does not pass the test, we don’t bring it into our kitchen, or to the market.
More than just edible seaweed types
As a side note, I’m not sure about what part of the world you are in, but there are some jurisdictions that have very stringent laws and standards with regard to labeling and warning notices. This is often driven by tolerance levels of certain chemicals found in different substances, water, foods, etc.
One such example can be found in the State of California, who has passed Proposition 65 (previously known as The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986). This has been cited as an example of an over-reaction in Congress by many, and called out as being an unmitigated disaster. It has been proven that the naturally occurring soil in the State of California does not pass the standards when tested enforced under Prop 65. [7, 8]
Prop 65 is now seeing cafes that roast their coffee beans on site having to place warning signs about the chemicals or substances that may be present in their business as a result. It seems like a bit of overkill to many, and I can understand why. 
I share this with you because some Sea Moss sold online is presented with labeling that has the Prop 65 warning on it. That is not to say that their product will cause problems, but that under the current laws in California they must make this statement.
A full list of chemicals regulated under Prop 65 shows that this is really quite extensive. We test our products regularly, not from the point of view that we must comply with any specific law (exclusively), but from the point of view that we want you, our customer, to be provided with a safe product. 
So, yes, it is important to know what you are getting when you buy edible seaweed types, or anything else online or in a store. And I hope that our articles have been able to provide you with some valuable information to help you make an informed decision.
26th August, 2020
Question: Curious about purchasing Sea Moss amid the Fukashima fallout – which is a real thing. Are there safe locations to purchase Sea Moss where Fukashima is not an issue?Ann Taylor
That is a valid question, and it is one that played a very big part in us looking into where we source our seaweed from.
It is worth noting that things have moved on since the fallout, but not so much that we aren’t concerned and conscious about it. The NOAA have some information too that you might find helpful. 
With all of the places we have visited, there have been domestic factors that have proven to be as much, if not more of an issue than the Fukushima Dai’ichi fallout. We’ve been very careful in assessing a range of factors before we found a source of Sea Moss that we were happy to have in our own kitchen.
24th April, 2019
Are the oceans really that safe to eat seaweed?Tracey
Thanks for your question. This is one we get asked a lot, and understandably so.
We have found that the answer is typically yes, but that doesn’t mean that we choose not to exercise appropriate due diligence in having our seaweed tested before we use it in our own kitchen, or list it for sale.
There’s nothing you’ll find for sale here that we don’t personally have in our own cupboards at home. If it’s not good enough for our personal use, then you won’t find it here.
5th August, 2019
I buy Sea Moss from a company who gets it in Indonesia and theirs another one that gets it in Vietnam I buy from too. Are these safe?Alexandra Scott
Thank you for your question. Typically yes. There have been concerns about different edible seaweed types coming from Asia, Africa and the Pacific, but these have been largely unfounded.
It is important to check a few things off before you buy Sea Moss from any one provider in our opinion (and that includes challenging us on those same points).
I’m currently working on an infographic to support this which I hope makes the due diligence process a little clearer for consumers. The intention is to give consumers, like yourself, some points to look at before you buy.
We will look at a combination of the quality metrics, on flow effects of your purchase, health and safety considerations, and the accessibility of information related to laboratory testing. Note: The infographic mentioned above has since been created and published per the below.
As a part of our commitment to you, as a customer of ours (regardless of if you buy from us, you’re here engaging us – and that’s important) and our commitment to ourselves, we work hard on leaving no stone unturned.
See, we use our Sea Moss every day too. And we need to know that it’s right for us also.
If we don’t like it, and it fails to pass the lab tests we put it through there’s no way we will present it to you. This is why we share what we consider before we buy Sea Moss so you can figure out if its the right fit for you or not.
As far as Indonesia and Vietnam, see if you can find out (roughly) where the farms are. No one will tell you the exact location of the farm they source from, or who the Farmers are.
This is largely for market sensitivity reasons. There have been a number of cases where Buyers from specific countries come in and price the locals out of their own market.
The world saw this happen when quinoa became popular. Suddenly, the people who depended on it as a staple couldn’t afford it anymore. We don’t want to see that happen with any types of edible seaweeds that locals depend upon.
What we have learned through our contacts in many countries who are in the seaweed industry is that the Farmers are typically given a bit of a rough deal by the companies who buy in bulk from them. These suppliers typically pay a very small amount to the Farmer, and then hike the price up once they get the product on the open market.
Now, there’s nothing really wrong with that when you look at it from a ‘how the markets work’ textbook perspective. But in our hearts this isn’t really fair. We prefer to work with the Farmers who supply us, and pay them a better rate than they would otherwise get. From our perspective, it’s gotta be a win-win-win.
You win because you get the best of their crop. Sea Moss from a clean and pure source. They win because they are able to sell to us at a much better rate, and this is good for them, their families, and even the community. We also win, which helps us to do the same thing with other Farmers in other areas too.
There’s other winners in this too; the marine environment and our planet.
If we can get this right as a community and a movement, different edible seaweed types can be a food source for millions. And when they know what to consider before they buy Sea Moss, or any other seaweed, then they will be able to be more confident in their purchase.
I know I’ve gone on a bit here, but I’m passionate about seeing this grow and help bring people together. If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll get a monthly update and some exclusive offers.
- “Fukushima Radiation in U.S. West Coast Tuna” – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2 March 2022 [NOAA]
- “Busting myths about Fukushima No. 1” – K. Miyake, 26 December 2018 [Japan Times] [Internet Archive link]
- “Fukushima Daiichi Status Updates” – International Atomic Energy Agency, last accessed 30 March 2022 [IAEA]
- “Fukushima fishermen concerned for future over release of radioactive water” J. McCurry, 16 September 2019 [The Guardian] [Internet Archive link]
- “Fukushima Daiichi Accident” J. McCurry, April 2021 [World Nuclear Association]
- “Using Ocean Modeling to Track Nuclear Contamination: NWS Responds to the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster” E. Senesac, 3 October 2020 [NWS Heritage] [Internet Archive link]
- “About Proposition 65” Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, 12 January 2015 [OEHHA]
- “ACC slams California Prop 65 law as ‘unmitigated disaster'” L. Stringer, 21 September 2018 [Chemical Watch]
- “Bagged Again: California Doubles Down on Prop 65 Warnings” J. DeRupo, 4 June 2018 [STiR]
- “The Proposition 65 List” Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, 28 January 2015 [OEHHA]
- “Ocean Plume Modeling for the Fukushima Dai’ichi Event: Particle tracing” – H. L. Tolman, Z. Garaffo, A. Mehra, I. Rivin, T. Spindler, September 2013 [NOAA] [Internet Archive link]