To stop further contamination of the beef supply, the central government’s nuclear disaster task force ordered Fukushima prefecture to stop shipments of beef cattle from all areas of the prefecture until conditions for lifting the ban were achieved.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, “I feel responsibility for not being able to prevent this from happening and I am extremely sorry.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano apologized for the government’s failure to ensure that all farmers were informed of a government notice asking them not to use livestock feed that was stored outdoors.
He added that the affected farmers will be paid for the economic and psychological damage they suffered from the latest incidents, and for the losses caused from the fall in beef prices.
The government will expand probes into the use of rice straw by the cattle farmers. High levels of cesium were found in straw beyond Fukushima and 10 other prefectures currently under examination.
Farm Minister Michihiko Kano said at a news conference,”By working in unison with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare we will make sure (cesium-tainted) beef will not find its way into the market.”
Beef crisis worsens as more prefectures ship cattle fed contaminated straw
TOKYO (majirox news) — Japan’s crisis of selling beef from cattle that ate feed with radiation levels hundreds of times the legal limit widened July 18 from Fukushima prefecture to neighboring Niigata and Yamagata, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The ministry announced cattle from Niigata and Yamagata prefectures had been found to have eaten the straw with illegally high levels of cesium, the first time farms outside of Fukushima prefecture had been found to have shipped such livestock.
The Farm Ministry had been ordering emergency inspections of beef from 11 prefectures, but this did not include either Niigata or Yamagata. It has now instructed that inspections be carried out in all prefectures across eastern Japan.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare also issued its first nationwide directive that any meat from cattle that ate cesium-tainted straw be submitted for a safety inspection.
As of July 18, 648 head of cattle had been shipped for delivery after eating the contaminated straw.