Must-have kitchen gadget: Food radiation checker

Japan's Horiba is showing off a rice bucket that holds a radiation detector. It also works with soil, so it's perfect for gardening.

Tim Hornyak/CNET

MAKUHARI, Japan--For many Japanese, food safety is an urgent concern in light of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, from which radiation has entered the food supply.

Kyoto-based scientific equipment maker Horiba is trying to help with a radiation detector kit that can tell users if their food is contaminated.

It's basically a transparent bucket with a radiation monitor in the bottom and an upper compartment that holds rice and other foods. It also works with soil.

The bucket works with Horiba's new PA-1000 Radi monitor, which was being shown off here at Ceatec trade show outside Tokyo ahead of its release this month.

Priced at 125,000 yen ($1,628), the Radi can detect radiation ranging from 0.001 to 9.999 microsieverts per hour and has a buzzer option for alerts.

Horiba staff members said Japan residents are now looking for higher quality detectors instead of cheaper imports. The company's PA-1100 Radi is a monitor with USB and Bluetooth for links to PCs, smartphones, and tablets. It can be used with GPS applications to quickly create radiation maps.

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