TOKYO—Local officials in Fukushima said on Monday that 411 more cattle potentially contaminated with radioactive caesium have been shipped around Japan, a development sure to fuel food-safety fears.
The prefectural government said the additional beef cattle found to have eaten contaminated rice straw came from seven farms in six municipalities in the prefecture, bringing the total number of potentially contaminated cattle shipped from Fukushima for consumption to 554. Some of Japan’s biggest supermarket chains have sold beef from the cattle.
The local government added that the rice straw had tested at up to 690,000 becquerels per kilogram, more than 500 times the government’s safety limit. A becquerel represents one radioactive event per second.
After weeks of reassurance from the government that measures are in place to ensure food from the region near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor is safe, the sudden rise in both the number of cattle that ate contaminated feed and the levels of cesium in the straw will exacerbate concerns over food safety and the government’s handling of another key postdisaster issue.