Radioactive cesium detected in Fukushima cows

07/11/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — Radioactive cesium well in excess of the government’s provisional safety level was detected July 9 in meat from a herd of cows from a farm located 30 kilometers away from the leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, government officials said.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials have seized the meat from the 11 cows and have pledged not to allow it to be distributed.

The same cattle farmer who raised the livestock shipped out another six cows in May and June, five of which were delivered to the same meat processing plant but they were not examined for radioactive cesium as the meat from the other cows was on July 8. The meat from those five cows is now highly likely to have gone onto the market.

Metropolitan government officials do not know whether the five cows also registered high levels of cesium. They are trying to trace the sale of the meat.

The farmer’s farm is about 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which continues leaking radiation. His property was located in an area in which the Japanese Government ordered citizens to prepare for evacuation in the event of an emergency. He now raises about 150 head of cattle for a company based in Tochigi Prefecture.

On Friday, meat from one of 11 cows examined at a processing center in Tokyo’s Minato-ku registered radioactive cesium at 2300 becquerel/kilogram, over 500 bq/kg higher than the national provisional standard. Meat from the remaining 10 cows did not initially show high traces of cesium, but when metropolitan government officials checked the meat again, all the cows exceeded the standard figure, registering cesium levels ranging from 1,530 to 3,200 bq/kg.

The farmer said the cows were fed rice straw that had been fertilized from an imported mixed fertilizer brought from a client company. The cattle drink water pumped from 10 meters underground, which is the same source used by the farmer and his family.

Local government hygiene officers from Tochigi prefecture screened two of the cows that provided the meat at the time they were delivered from the farm, but detected no irregularities.

kyoko@majiroxnews.com

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