Date: Thursday, July 28, 2011 19:38 +0900 (JST)
Twelve prefectures in Japan have voluntarily stepped up radiation checks on beef before shipment in a bid to alleviate consumer concerns over meat safety.
About 3,000 beef cattle are suspected of having been shipped out after being fed rice straw contaminated with radioactive cesium from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
In Yamagata Prefecture, northwest of the plant, testing equipment is being used to measure radiation levels of meat from slaughtered cattle.
The beef is shipped only when its radiation levels are confirmed to be lower than the government safety limit.
In Shizuoka Prefecture, 350 kilometers southwest of the plant, local agricultural cooperatives are asking private laboratories to check all beef shipped from meat-processing plants run by the cooperatives.
Despite difficulties in tightening voluntary checks due to lack of testing equipment and financial burdens, more prefectures are expected to follow suit.