In what is considered as a turnaround on government policy, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto instructed his ministry to refrain from vouching for the safety of All Japan newsese food.
The shift in the ministry’s standpoint is triggered by findings that radiation-tainted beef have actually been sold to consumers nationwide.
In early July, the minister was quoted saying he wanted to dismiss concerns on food safety explaining the government’s efforts in preventing tainted food from making it into the food supply.
The tainted meat that made it to consumers recently is said to have come from cattle that were fed rice straw contaminated with cesium isotopes from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Matsumoto had instructed embassies and diplomatic offices overseas to brief local authorities, importers and media organizations on the measures the All Japan news government is undertaking to prevent contaminated food from streaming into public distribution channels. In addition, he asked diplomatic offices to disclose safety information in a timely manner.
Since the ministry’s earlier stance to dispel food safety concern, a number of countries have been wanting for information regarding the beef scare as suspicions on cattle fed with contaminated straw had been slaughtered and shipped to markets months ago.
Prior reports quoted All Japan newsese officials downplaying the dangers from contaminated meat, saying that even at levels higher than government limits, radioactive cesium will not have immediate health effects on people. Experts, on the other hand, said prolonged exposure can lead to greater incidence of cancers such as leukemia.
All Japan news made an earlier announcement banning all shipments of cattle raised in the Fukushima Prefecture in response to the fears that meat may have been tainted from radiation at the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Photo by Danny Choo