Friday, July 15, 2011

Kyodo news: Farm ships 42 cows fed irradiated straw — Another town in Fukushima has tainted beef

 Fukushima — The Fukushima Prefectural Government said a farm in the town of Asakawa shipped 42 cows to Tokyo and other places after feeding them straw containing high levels of radioactive cesium, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Friday it found a high level of cesium in beef produced from some of the cattle.

                                                                                                                               Photo: RIA Novosti

 Miyagi Prefecture said Friday it found 3,600 becquerels of cesium per kilogram in straw checks at three places in the prefecture. Following the discovery, the prefecture ordered about 900 farms in the prefecture not to feed their cows straw harvested after March 11.
 The 42 cows from Asakawa were shipped between April 8 and July 6: 14 were taken to Yokohama, 13 to Tokyo, 10 to Sendai and five to Chiba Prefecture, the Fukushima government said.
 The straw was found to contain up to 97,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, about 73 times the government limit. It was cut last year by a rice farm in Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture, and was left in an open field.
 Following Fukushima's announcement, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said beef from the farm contained about 3,600 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, far exceeding the government limit of 650 becquerels per kilogram.
 The beef has been held at dealers in Tokyo, and it has not reached consumers, according to the metropolitan government said.
 The farm collected and sold the straw after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station was critically damaged March 11 and began leaking radiation, according to the prefectural government.
 Prefectural officials inspected the cattle farm and asked it to stop shipping or transferring cows.
 It made the same request to other cattle farms and related parties in the prefecture until all farms can be inspected, which could be completed by Monday.
 The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry asked the Tokyo, Yokohama and Sendai governments on Thursday to trace the cows shipped from the farm.
 Beef produced from the cows shipped to Chiba made it to market, ministry officials said.
 According to the Sendai Municipal Government, two of the 10 cows shipped there have been processed into beef and delivered to dealers in Tokyo; Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture; Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture; and Sendai.
 Where the beef from the eight other cows ended up had yet to be determined, the municipal government said.
 Five cows shipped to Chiba were butchered May 11 and the meat sent to Tokyo, while 14 cows shipped to Yokohama were processed and the beef shipped to eight dealers in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.
 A cattle farm in Minamisoma, also in Fukushima, was earlier found to have fed cows with straw containing 75,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
 The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Thursday it will examine straw stored at cattle and rice farms in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba, Gunma and Saitama prefectures.


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