Tokyo, Japan — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 12 July 2011 – Beef from areas around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will be inspected after meat with radiation levels exceeding government safety standards was sold to domestic consumers in the country’s latest food scare and radiation crisis.
But “’ according to local authorities “’ the timing of comprehensive checks remains unclear due to limited inspection capabilities.
Radioactive cesium three- to six-times higher than safety standards was found in beef shipped to Tokyo from a farmer in Minami Soma city, near Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A Farm Ministry official said consuming such meat a few times would pose no immediate health risks.
The farmer fed his cows straw that had been left outside after the nuclear plant had been hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and began leaking radiation.
“This case is truly an exception. As long as farmers manage feed properly, this won’t happen,” said an official with the local Fukushima government. “But I know my saying this won’t ease worries among the public. Once we have an incident like this, it will take a considerable amount of time before we can recover.”
The new measures only apply to beef. Radiation is unlikely to accumulate in high amounts in pigs or chicken, as they are generally given imported feed, the ministry official said.
Shortly after the disaster, Tokyo warned that babies should not be given tap water because of radiation from the nuclear accident, causing a run on bottled water. The warning was later lifted.
Shipments of certain vegetables from areas near the plant have also been halted due to high radiation levels, while cesium was found at levels above safety limits in tiny ‘kounago’ fish in waters near Fukushima, stoking worries about seafood consumption.