Date: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 18:07 +0900 (JST)
Japan's government has ordered Tochigi Prefecture to suspend its shipments of beef cattle due to fears of radioactive contamination.
The government ordered the ban on Tuesday after beef from 4 head of cattle shipped from 2 municipalities in the prefecture was found to contain unsafe amounts of radioactive cesium.
Cesium contamination was also detected in rice straw used to feed beef cattle in the prefecture.
Tochigi is the fourth prefecture ordered to suspend beef cattle shipments, following Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.
The government says it will allow resumption of shipments if radiation levels of all beef from farms whose shipments and feed were contaminated, as well as beef from other farms, fall below the government standard.
Tochigi says it will test all of its beef cattle, but the prefecture ships up to 55,000 head of cattle per year, and fewer than 30,000 can be processed locally.
The government is to ask the prefecture to draw up realistic plans for resuming shipments, such as limiting the number of cattle to be shipped.