July 20, 2011 / 1:02 PM / 9 years ago

Over 1,000 cows fed nuclear-contaminated feed shipped in Japan

Cows are seen at a cattle farm in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, July 19, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 1,000 beef cattle that ate feed contaminated with radioactive cesium have been shipped all over Japan from Fukushima and other prefectures, Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday, adding to anxiety after the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

The report comes a day after Tokyo ordered the suspension of all shipments of beef cattle from Fukushima prefecture after discovering that cattle fed rice straw contaminated with high levels of radioactive cesium had been shipped nationwide

Japanese consumers have become increasingly worried about food safety following cases of contaminated vegetables, tea, milk, seafood and water due to radiation leaks at the tsunami-hit nuclear plant in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

A total of 1,235 cattle that ate straw containing radioactive cesium have been shipped from Fukushima and seven other prefectures to other parts of Japan, Kyodo reported, up from the 500 reported Tuesday.

The straw, which was left in rice paddies even as the Fukushima plant leaked radiation after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, contained cesium up to 500 times the levels considered safe.

The government is still conducting tests to determine whether the meat itself was contaminated.

Experts say the health implications for consumers from cow feed contamination were not immediately clear.

Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima plant continues to leak radiation more than four months after the disaster.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Daniel Magnowski

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