TOKYO (majirox news) — Shipments of beef from Fukushima prefecture are likely to be banned as the growing number of retailers selling meat from cattle that recorded radiation levels up to six times the legal limit spread over the weekend.
State Minister for Nuclear Crisis Management Goshi Hosono said July 17 that bans would probably be placed on Fukushima beef shipments as major retailers Aeon Co. and Odakyu Department Store announced they had sold hundreds of kilograms of beef from cattle that had eaten radiated straw.
“The most likely outcome is that we will ban beef shipments,” Hosono said. “We are discussing the matter along these lines. We have to ensure food safety.”
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries officials have said that consuming such meat a few times poses no immediate health risks.
Cattle farmers have said they were unaware the national government issued a warning on March 19 that feed stored outdoors should not be given to their animals. A Fukushima prefectural government official acknowledged the prefecture did not adequately pass along the instruction to farmers.
Vegetables and fish from Fukushima prefecture have also registered high levels of radiation in recent months following the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region.
Over the weekend, supermarket chain operator Aeon Co. said it sold 319 kilograms of the tainted meat at 14 of its outlets in Tokyo and nearby prefectures. Odakyu department store followed by announcing it had sold about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of meat from the cattle showing high levels of cesium. Both retailers promised to tighten food safety standards.