To ensure food safety, the Japanese government's nuclear disaster task force decided to order Fukushima Prefecture to suspend shipments of beef cattle from all parts of the prefecture.
Fukushima Prefecture, from which 554 cows suspected of radioactive cesium contamination were shipped, had already asked its farmers to voluntarily suspend all shipping and transporting of their beef cattle. But the task force has concluded it necessary to stop shipments until preparations for inspections are put in place and the safety of the meat can be confirmed.
The government will expand the scope of an emergency survey on the use of rice straw to cover all cattle farmers nationwide, after elevated levels of radioactive cesium was found in straw further afield than Fukushima and 10 other prefectures currently under review.
Fukushima, Niigata and Yamagata prefectures have shipped 648 cattle to at least 38 of Japan's 47 prefectures after being fed rice straw contaminated by radiation spewed from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the March 11 earthquake. Some of the meat from the cattle has been consumed.
Niigata and Yamagata prefectures are not included in the shipment ban as tests showed no cesium in beef there.
Source: Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisherie