Tokyo, Japan — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 19 July 2011 – The Japanese government is poised to halt all shipments of beef from Fukushima, following the discovery that meat from cows which ate feed contaminated with radioactive material up to 500 times above safety standards, had been shipped from there.
Revealing this here, officials said initial inspections of the area’s farms had shown that more than 500 cows that had eaten straw contaminated by radioactive cesium had been shipped to other parts of Japan,. The government was still conducting tests as to whether the meat itself had been contaminated.
All prefectures will be asked to look into whether farms have fed contaminated feed to their cows and inspections will be boosted, agriculture minister Michihiko Kano said.
The news sparked selling in stocks of meat companies, with Nippon Meat Packers losing 4.2% to 1,082 yen and Itoham Foods dropping 3% to 321 yen.
Incidents of contaminated vegetables, tea, milk, seafood and water have stoked public anxiety after the radiation leak at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.
The Fukushima government, which has already checked more than 33,000 beef cattle, plans to inspect all of Fukushima’s 4,000 cattle farms by 3 August.
Government data indicates that beef from the area accounts for only 2.8% of domestic shipments.