Associated Press reporters who visited the edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Belarus say that milk from a dairy farm there contains levels of radioactive isotopes at least 10 times higher than the country’s food safety limits.
The finding comes on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in neighboring Ukraine.
The milk was tested by the AP reporters after it was offered to them by dairy farmer Nikolai Chubenok, whose land is about 45 kilometers north of the shuttered Chernobyl nuclear plant.
Chubenok said his herd of 50 dairy cows produces milk for the local factory of Milkavita.
Milkavita produces Parmesan cheese that is sold primarily in Russia.
Milkavita officials said the AP-commissioned laboratory finding was “impossible.”
They insisted their own tests show that traces of radioactive isotopes in their milk supply are well below safety limits.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on April 25 that cleaning up the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident has been a “major and pressing task” for his government for 30 years.