Japan Radioactive Food Fears Growing Fast
Beef Contaminated by Radiation Intensifies Food-Safety Concerns in Japan
By Aya Takada
Jul 14, 2011
Beef contaminated by radiation from Fukushima prefecture has been eaten by consumers in Japan, intensifying food-safety concerns and stoking criticism against a government testing program that checks only selected products.
About 437 kilograms (963 pounds) of beef from a farm in Minami-Soma city, 30 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima Dai- Ichi nuclear station, was consumed in eight prefectures, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government, which detected the first case of tainted beef from the farm earlier this month.
Four months after a record earthquake and tsunami crippled the power plant in Fukushima, site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, local government offices are struggling to check every farm product due to a shortage of testing equipment, staff and budget. Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and food can cause leukemia and other cancers, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association.
“The government’s mishandling of the issue is deepening food-safety concerns,” Susumu Harada, senior director at the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Tokyo office, said in an interview.