Cattle breeders from Fukushima Prefecture have asked Japan’s agriculture minister to check all cattle in the prefecture for radiation.
The government on Tuesday suspended all beef cattle shipment from Fukushima Prefecture after radioactive cesium exceeding government safety levels was detected in straw used to feed the animals.
On Wednesday, about 30 representatives of farmers’ and cattle breeders’ groups from the prefecture visited government agencies in Tokyo to demand the state buy up beef cattle that had been banned from being shipped.
They asked agriculture minister Michihiko Kano to inspect all cattle in the prefecture, as well as all beef that had already been shipped, to regain consumer trust.
The government has said it would check all cattle only in areas designated for evacuation.
Kano expressed regret over the government’s failure to inform cattle breeders about the risks of rice straw, and said only that he wants to be able to say for sure that beef on the market is safe. He reportedly did not say clearly whether he would instruct all cattle to be inspected.
The head of the prefectural federation of farmers’ cooperatives, Tokuichi Shojo, later told reporters that thorough inspections are essential to regain the credibility of Fukushima farm products and livestock.
He said he wants the government to consider how it will check all cattle, based on its experience with outbreaks of BSE, or mad cow disease, and foot-and-mouth disease.