French government nuclear scientists have warned that radioactive material, usually totally absent from food, has been discovered in milk in France.

The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said radioactive iodine-131 has been found in densities of of 0.09 becquerels per litre near Paris and 0.15bq/l in the Loire valley, western France. This is well below legal European Union legal maximums of 2,000bq/kg, or approximately 1,941 bq/l.

IRSN suggested that the contamination was the result of radioactive clouds belching from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, but added that it “presents no environmental or health hazard”.

However, as iodine-131 should not be in food the institute will continue to monitor the situation.