Pavel Alpeyev - Jul 21, 2011 4:03 PM GMT+1000
“This is a major, major problem,” said Goshi Hosono, who is Japan’s food safety minister as well being in charge of the response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He was speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan yesterday.
The cattle ate tainted straw during a feed-supply shortage after the March earthquake and tsunami. Rice hay produced in Fukushima prefecture was found to contain as much as 690,000 becquerels, exceeding the 300-becquerel limit, according to the local government office. The cattle suspected of being fed the contaminated hay have been shipped to 45 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, Kyodo News reported yesterday.
Some beef from the cattle contained cesium exceeding government standards and was sold to consumers, said Kazuyuki Hashimoto, an official at the food-monitoring division of the Tokyo metropolitan government.
Radioactive DecayA becquerel represents one radioactive decay per second, which involves the release of atomic energy that can damage human cells and DNA, causing leukemia and other forms of cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association.
About 437 kilograms (963 pounds) of beef from a farm in Minami-Soma city, 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, was eaten in eight prefectures, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government, which detected the first case of tainted beef from the farm earlier this month.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. today said it had inadvertently sold beef later found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium at three of its stores.
A total of 68.2 kilograms of tainted beef was sold at stores in Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures and by a subsidiary in Tokyo, the company said in a statement on its website today.