Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kyodo news: Shipment ban on beef may widen

 The government may consider expanding the area for suspending beef cattle shipments beyond Fukushima Prefecture, where it plans to soon impose such curbs, senior vice health minister Kohei Otsuka said Sunday.

                                                                                            Photo: Reuters/Yomiuri Shimbun

 "We are currently considering Fukushima Prefecture, but we may have to consider the need for further response by checking the distribution of contaminated straw," Otsuka said on a TV program.
 The government's nuclear disaster task force is set to suspend shipments of beef cattle from Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reactors are spewing radiation, amid concern that some beef from a local farm was found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium after being fed with tainted straw.
 Otsuka proposed setting up an inspection base for conducting urine examinations on all cows and returning those that show levels of radioactive substances higher than the government-set limit to farms so they can be decontaminated by giving them safe feed.
 Under this idea, which he qualified as his "personal opinion," Otsuka said the central government would purchase noncontaminated straw from regions in western Japan and provide it to farms so they can feed it to the cows.
 On Sunday, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and affected local governments continued looking into distribution channels of meat that could be contaminated with radioactive materials, as beef cattle shipped from other farms in Fukushima Prefecture were also found the previous day to have been fed contaminated straw.


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