Tokyo, Japan (AHN) – Japan banned all shipments of beef from the Fukushima Prefecture over concerns that the cattle have been contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered a partial meltdown in March after the magnitude 9 earthquake.
Chief Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano said Tokyo ordered the governor of Fukushima to halt shipments of all cattle from the prefecture to meat-packing factories.
However, prior to the ban, over 500 cows likely to have ingested hay tainted with radiation may have already been shipped to other Japanese prefectures. There are fears that cattle from other nearby prefectures may have also been contaminated because of recent discoveries that animals from farms that are as far as 100 kilometers (70 miles) from Fukushima are also contaminated by radiation
The Fukushima government admitted that more than 400 cows were fed with radioactive-cesium contaminated straw. About 200 of the cattle were shipped to Tokyo, 192 to Hyogo Prefecture, nine to Gurima Prefecture, two to Tochigi Prefecture, and one to Saitama Prefecture,
According to tests done on the remaining straw that were fed to the cows, cesium level reached 690,000 becquerels per kilogram, which exceed the 500 becquerel allowable limit.
The contaminated cattle were from farms in Koriyama, Nihonmatsu, Motomiya, Sukagawa, Shirakawa and Aizubange.