Contaminated Beef Sold To Consumers

JAPAN - A total of 438 kilograms of beef from six cows contaminated with radioactive materials from a farm in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, could have ended up reaching consumers in eight prefectures, the Tokyo metropolitan government said earlier this week.
calendar icon 15 July 2011
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Testing on meat samples from four of the six cows was completed earlier this week, and on July 13, meat from the last two cows was tested. The Tokyo government began investigating after radioactive cesium far above the national safety limits was found in the meat of 11 cows from the same farm earlier this month.

The July 13 tests showed the highest levels to date of radioactive cesium--4,350 becquerels per kilogram in one cow's meat and 3,710 becquerels per kilogram in the other's.

Tokyo government officials said the tests showed the beef from the six cows had radioactive cesium of four to nearly nine times the safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.

However, officials say there is little to worry about.

"The provisional safety standard is based on an assumption that consumption of (contaminated) beef would continue throughout one year. One does not have to worry if (contaminated beef) was eaten just once," a government official said.

The government does not plan to release the names of the shops that sold the radioactive beef or restaurants that served it to consumers.

Beef from the 11 cows was not distributed. The contaminated beef that reached consumers was from the six cows.

According to the government, 1,439 kg of beef from the six cows was distributed, of which 438 kg, or about 30 percent, may have reached consumers through retailers and restaurants in eight prefectures--Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Osaka, Tokushima and Kochi.

The cows became contaminated when fed straw that was stored outdoors even after the hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant sent radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

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