Japan today banned all cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture due to escalating fears of radiation-tainted beef in the country’s meat distribution chain.
The central government told Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato to suspend shipments of all cattle in the prefecture, chief government spokesman Yukio Edano told reporters.
Around 650 beef cattle are thought to have been fed contaminated hay before being sent to meat processing facilities across Japan since late March. The animals were mainly from Fukushima but also from other nearby prefectures.
The hay was apparently contaminated by the release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The latest food scare associated with the disaster has seen increasing numbers of cows from farms outside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) Fukushima nuclear no-go zone found to have eaten contaminated hay before being moved around the country, with some of the meat thought to have been consumed.
Workers are still battling to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is still emitting radiation four months after it was hit by the earthquake and tsunami.
News of the beef ban comes as the country’s embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that the first phase of efforts to bring the crisis at the nuclear plant under control is on schedule and near completion.
Once again, the animals are the victims!