September 19, 2011


Fukushima resumes beef cattle shipments to other prefectures



After formulating a system to check all cattle for radiation, shipments from Fukushima territory of beef cattle resumed on September 15.


In line with the resumption, seven head of cattle were shipped to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market's meat market.  The move came two months after a July 19 ban on shipments that was sparked by the discovery of beef contaminated with radioactive cesium from the crisis-hit Fukushima number one nuclear plant.


Beef cattle from the prefecture can now be shipped to about 15 meat processing facilities located in the Kanto region and Miyagi Prefecture. The Fukushima Prefectural Government will test all cattle, entrusting the work to a private testing organisation. The US$1.64 million price tag of the testing will come from the prefecture's reserve funds for fiscal 2011, and prefectural officials will consider seeking compensation from Fukushima number one plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., as well as government support.


The ban on shipments of beef from Fukushima Prefecture was lifted on August 25, but officials were not ready to test all heads of cattle, and could only handle 34 head a day at the prefectural meat distribution centre in Koriyama. With the new system to test all cattle shipped outside the prefecture, it will be possible to ship out around 200 head of cattle a day.


The cattle shipped outside the prefecture are from 188 farms where it emerged that farmers had not fed their cattle straw contaminated with radioactive materials, traced as the source of previous beef contaminations. Officials confirmed that radiation measurements are far below the provisional safety level of 50 becquerels per kilogramme of meat after testing one head of cattle at each farm.

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