Friday, July 8, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: 2300 Becquerels/kg Cesium from Beef from Fukushima

It's the first detection of radioactive cesium from beef since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

From Sankei Shinbun (7/8/2011):


The Tokyo Metropolitan government announced on July 8 that 2,300 becquerels/kg radioactive cesium was detected from the beef from Minami-Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture. The amount detected was nearly 5 times as much as the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg). It was the first time that radioactive cesium was detected that exceeded the provisional safety limit.


Fukushima Prefecture has requested Minami-Soma City to voluntarily refrain from further shipping. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has asked Fukushima Prefecture and the neighboring prefectures to strengthen their inspection of the beef.


Radioactive cesium was detected from the meat from one of the 11 meat cattle from a farm located in the part of Minami-Soma City designated as emergency evacuation-ready zone. The 11 meat cattle were brought to the Metropolitan Shibaura Slaughterhouse.


Since Fukushima Prefecture is unable to inspect all food items in Fukushima, the Ministry of Health asked the Tokyo Metropolitan government to do the inspection instead. The result of the analysis of the meat from the remaining 10 cattle will be known in the afternoon on July 9.


The meat is being kept at a facility owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, and there is no chance that this meat will be sold in the market. So far, the similar tests have been conducted by other municipalities, and it is considered that the meat is not currently being sold in the open market.


However, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan government and others, the cattle passed the inspection based on the guidelines from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the time of shipment. The inspection consisted of the radiation measurement on the body surface, and a questionnaire about how the cattle were raised. The guideline may be reviewed in light of the incident [of radioactive cesium detection from the meat].


One municipal source said, "We were just doing the monitoring survey because we were told there was no problem with the pre-shipment inspection. From now on, the Ministry of Agriculture and other agencies may need to review the inspection methodology."

Whatever the "monitoring survey" was, this anonymous source's words would mean that no beef was checked for radiation before this incident, and presumably the meat has already been sold in the market without radiation inspection.

According to Yomiuri Shinbun on the same subject, this particular farm had shipped 6 cows between May 30 and June 30. The meat from these cows have presumably been long sold in the market. The Ministry of Health is trying to track it down. Yomiuri also says this farm is located in the 20-30 kilometer radius zone which is designated as "emergency evacuation-ready zone". Evacuation on demand.

Poor cows.


Anonymous said...

This has me thinking of an electric cattle prod for some reason, and how it can be used on subjects other than cattle.

Anonymous said...

"We were just doing the monitoring survey because we were told there was no problem with the pre-shipment inspection."

That comes off sounding like they were only testing something because they thought it wouldn't have anything as opposed to something they thought might have something. I'd guess the "monitoring survey" was the testing that turned up the 2,300 bq/kg and the "pre-shipment" inspection was the body surface scan/questionnaire.

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