Example of food chain
The contamination in may 1986 of goat cheese in Corsica mountains was an example of penetration of the food chain by radioactive atoms, either through inhalation or by deposits on the vegetation.Some Mediterranean plants, such as thyme or dried fruits, contain more radioactive elements, as their water content is very low (less than 5% for hazelnuts, compared with more than 80% for fresh fruit). The goats feed on these plants. For their milk, more mineralized than cow's milk, peak levels of iodine-131 contamination up to 15000 becquerels per liter were observed. However, this milk did not enter the diet of the very young children most sensitive to this contamination which decreased rapidly, divided by 2 every 8 days.
IRSN/dessin : Martine Beugin