Date: Monday, August 01, 2011 18:45 +0900 (JST)
Japan's government has ordered Iwate Prefecture to suspend shipments of all beef cattle, after radiation levels above government standards were detected in some beef from the region.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday that the ban was issued to the governor of Iwate after levels of radioactive cesium above the standard were found in beef from 2 municipalities.
Edano said the government will ensure that cattle farmers receive appropriate compensation, adding it will swiftly lift the ban for beef whose safety is confirmed.
Iwate is the third prefecture to face a beef shipment ban after Fukushima and Miyagi. Some cattle in Iwate were fed rice straw contaminated with radioactive cesium.
Authorities have confirmed that beef from 6 such cattle was contaminated with high levels of cesium.
The government will require the inspection of all beef from farmers who shipped meat contaminated with high levels of cesium or used tainted rice straw. Other farmers are asked to check their first beef to be shipped to market. The government says it will allow beef shipments when radiation levels are confirmed to be below the standard.
Iwate ships about 36,000 beef cattle a year. The prefecture says it will check all cattle for radiation exposure before shipment.
The government will also ask the prefecture to temporarily reduce the number of shipments to match its inspection capability.