The Tokyo metropolitan government on July 8 detected levels of radioactive cesium 4.6 times the national standard in meat from a cow raised in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, officials said.
The beef, from the neck of an animal raised at a Minami-Soma ranch, showed cesium levels of 2,300 becquerels per kilogram. The national standard is 500 becquerels.
Metropolitan government officials said it was the first time radioactive elements at levels exceeding national standards were detected in beef.
Meat from 10 other cattle from the same ranch were also sent to the slaughterhouse and tested, officials said.
That meat has also been tested for radioactive materials. Metropolitan government officials said on July 9 that cesium above the national standard was also detected from all 10 cattle.
The meat from those 10 animals is being stored at a processing plant and has not yet reached market.
The Fukushima prefectural government asked the Minami-Soma city government and relevant organizations to stop shipping or transporting cattle raised in Minami-Soma for beef consumption.
According to metropolitan government officials, the cattle were tested for radiation after being processed at the Shibaura slaughterhouse of the central wholesale meat market on July 8.
The ranch where the cattle was raised lies within the zone in which residents have been asked to prepare to evacuate during emergencies due to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
All cattle shipped from that area have their body surfaces tested for radiation in Fukushima.
According to Fukushima prefectural government officials, the rancher raised the cattle indoors and also stored all the feed given to them indoors.
The body surfaces of the cattle in question were tested June 26, but no radioactive materials were detected.
A prefectural government official said, "We do not know why radioactive materials that are 4.6 times the standards were detected."
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