Japan's meat sector to burn contaminated beef

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Japanese Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano announced, that his country's meat industry organisations will purchase all radioactive domestic beef that has been shipped from Japan to the marketplace in order to diminish mounting consumer fears plus provide financial relief to affected livestock farmers of the contaminated beef.

Japan's government will have its meat industry organisations buy all beef contaminated with radioactive cesium surpassing the government limit of 500 Becquerel per kilogram, and they will in turn seek to recoup their costs from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The agriculture ministry added these organisations will also pay the storage fees for beef not exceeding the radiation limit but were banned from being shipped.

Japanese meat organisations will also provide financial support to livestock farmers in Fukushima Prefecture by paying 50,000¥ (640 US$) for each head of beef cattle they raise, the ministry said. The ministry is also considering aiding farmers in other prefectures who fed cesium-tainted hay to their cattle.

This plan directs the organisations to seek compensation to cover all of their costs from TEPCO. However, the ministry hasn't decided which meat industry organisations will play what role, including incinerating all or most of the tainted meat. If enough funds don't exist to cover all costs, the organisations will get loans from banking institutions, plus Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corp. will subsidise interest payments.

As of July 26, Japan's agriculture ministry claims 2,906 cows in 16 prefectures were fed contaminated rice straw before shipment. Out of 274 samples, 23 were found to contain radioactive cesium above the Japanese government's limit.
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