A scare in Japan over beef contaminated with radioactivity spread today with more parts of the country reporting tainted food, four months after March’s quake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster.
Japan’s second-largest retailer Aeon Co said it sold radioactive contaminated beef in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
So far, meat from 132 cattle that ate straw contaminated with high levels of radioactive caesium are known to have been shipped across the country, according to local media including national network NHK and the Asahi Shimbun.
Of the 47 prefectures in Japan, 36 of them have received meat from the affected animals, while contaminated meat is believed to have been consumed in 31 prefectures, NHK said.
Aeon said in a statement cattle from Fukushima prefecture were given animal feed originating from rice straw that exceeded the government’s limits for radioactive cesium.
The government is expected on Tuesday to ban all beef shipments from Fukushima prefecture, with the area’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant still emitting radioactivity.
More than four months into the nuclear crisis, Japan has not set up a centralized system to check food for radiation, relying instead on testing carried out by local authorities.
The government has sought to assure the public that there is no immediate health threat from eating standard servings of the beef.