Radioactive Beef Shipped Out from Fukushima Prefecture
At least three shipments of radioactive beef have been sent from Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. According to Agence France-Presse, the Japanese government is now considering halting all beef shipments from Fukushima as fears spread about contamination.
Beef from 42 cattle fed straw containing high levels of radioactive cesium has shown up in Tokyo and other areas in the last few months. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of northeastern Japan damaged a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, spreading dangerous radiation throughout the area. The cattle in question come from a farm in Asakawa, about 40 miles (60 km) from the stricken plant. They’d eaten straw left in an open field that contained up to 97,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram– 70 times the government limit for the radioactive element.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, a sample of the beef tested at 650 becquerels per kilogram. The limit is 500.
Another cattle farm, this one in Minamisoma, which is just outside the no-go zone surrounding the Fukushima reactors, reportedly shipped out beef from cows fed straw containing 75,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
The Japanese government insists that there is no health danger from eating the beef.
The government has yet to establish a centralized safety check system to test food for radiation. It’s been more than four months since the disaster, yet testing is still carried out by prefectures and municipalities.