Japan lifts beef ban after radiation scare

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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TOKYO — On Aug. 25, one month after imposing restrictions over fears thousands of cattle had been contaminated in the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan ended bans on beef from disaster-hit regions, according to AFP. Beef bans from Iwate, Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures were lifted after effective safety measures were imposed to protect livestock from contamination, said Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary.

Last week Japan ended a similar ban on beef from Miyagi prefecture, north of Fukushima. As a result, all beef restrictions in the country have been removed.

Before allowing the beef to be shipped to food markets, local governments must now inspect all cattle, said a farm official. Only farmers with cattle confirmed as safe can resume shipments.

Approximately 3,000 cattle suspected of being contaminated with radioactive cesium were shipped throughout Japan, slaughtered and sold after the animals were fed rice straw that was exposed to fallout from the tsunami-triggered nuclear crisis. In July, fears regarding this beef surfaced when elevated cesium levels were found in Tokyo in meat from cattle shipped from a farm in Minamisoma, which is located outside the no-go zone around the nuclear plant.

Since late March, affected animals were sold. Much of the meat was eaten in restaurants, school canteens and at homes nationwide.
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