– 5 Surprising Things We Feed Cows (Mother Jones, Dec 19, 2013):
– Halt of crop farming in Fukushima forces manure to accumulate on cattle farms (Mainichi, Nov. 4, 2011):
FUKUSHIMA — Two months after a government ban on beef was lifted, cattle farmers here are growing increasingly desperate as nearby vegetable farmers have halted production due to the ongoing nuclear disaster, leaving nowhere to take the accumulating manure that was previously used as fertilizer.
“When vegetable farmers are pushed into a dead end, there’s a domino effect that puts us into dire straits, too,” says 51-year-old Kazunori Mizunoya, a cattle farmer raising some 600 cows in Nakajima, a village located 70 kilometers from the troubled nuclear power station.
Not only is the fertilizer shed overflowing with manure, the cows in the barn stand in their own excrement nearly 70 centimeters deep. They sometimes shake their massive bodies as if they’re trying to wiggle free.
Cows like to be clean, and suffer high stress levels and illness when kept in unhygienic conditions. Indeed, almost half the cows in Mizunoya’s barn are experiencing deteriorating health.
Radioactive beef from Fukushima meat cows (then Miyagi, then Iwate, then…) was first in the news in early July. Then, the culprit was very quickly identified as radioactive rice hay that was stored outside when Fukushima I Nuke Plant started to spew out radioactive materials.
First they said the rice hay was fed to the cows because there was nothing else to feed due to supply disruption after the March 11 earthquake. Then it turned out that rice hay was integral part of fattening the meat cows before they were sold to the market.
Then the news broke on August 19 that some meat cows from Fukushima were highly radioactive even without radioactive rice hay.
And then it turns out that 4,000 such cows may have been shipped from one cattle farm in Namie-machi alone since the accident. The radiation level on the farm is high, as you can read in the Kahoku Shinpo article below.
Well, that instantly doubles the number of meat cows potentially contaminated with radioactive cesium. I say potentially, because most of the meat has been consumed already and there’s no way to test it.
From Kahoku Shinpo, local Fukushima paper (8/21/2011):
福島県浪江町の農場から出荷された肉牛４頭の肉から国の暫定基準値（１キログラム当たり５００ベクレル） を超える放射性セシウムが検出された問題で、福島県は２０日、同じ農場の牛５頭の肉も基準値を超えていたことを明らかにした。浪江町の農場からは、福島第 １原発事故後の３月１５日～４月１９日、汚染された９頭を含め計２２９頭が横浜市に出荷されていた。
Regarding the 4 meat cows from a cattle farm in Namie-machi in Fukushima Prefecture that exceeded the provisional safety limit for radioactive cesium (500 becquerels/kg), the Fukushima prefectural government disclosed on August 5 that the meat from 5 additional cows from the same farm contained radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit. From this farm in Namie-machi, total 229 cows including the 9 that were contaminated were shipped to Yokohama City between March 15 and April 19.
– #Radioactive Manure from Cows Bought from Fukushima (EX-SKF, August 19, 2011):
Shimane Prefecture, in Chugoku region, announced that a high level of radioactive cesium has been detected from manure from the cows purchased from Fukushima Prefecture in May and June.
They were not fed with radioactive rice hey.
Some people in Japan suspected from the beginning when the meat cows from Fukushima were found with radioactive cesium that it was not just from the feed but from air and water. They were dismissed by the government officials who insisted the problem was just the radioactive rice hay.
Both the national government and the Fukushima prefectural government encouraged the cattle farmers in the evacuation zones in Fukushima to sell their cows and pigs to cattle farmers outside Fukushima, and many farmers bought them. Now they are being raised all over Japan.
From Asahi Shinbun (5:00AM JST 8/20/2011):
島根県は１９日、福島県内の牛を５～６月に購入した農家１５戸のうち２戸の堆肥（たいひ）から放射性セシ ウムを検出、１戸は国の暫定基準値（１キロあたり４００ベクレル）を超えていたと発表した。これらの牛と排泄（はいせつ）物について農林水産省は、福島県 への調査などを踏まえ、牛の移動と出荷を認める通知を島根県に出していた。
Shimane Prefecture announced on August 19 that radioactive cesium was detected at two cattle farms out of 15 that had purchased meat cows from Fukushima Prefecture in May and June. At one of the farms, the level exceeded the provisional safety limit (400 becquerels/kg). The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had issued a notice earlier to Shimane Prefecture that it was free to move and ship meat cows, based on the survey results from Fukushima Prefecture.
– Miyagi beef cattle shipments barred (Japan Times, July 28, 2011):
Iwate may face similar ban amid radiation spread
The government ordered a complete ban Thursday on all shipments of beef cattle from Miyagi Prefecture after detecting radioactive cesium above the government limit in some local cattle.
The government is also considering placing a similar ban on beef cattle from Iwate Prefecture, where five cattle from Ichinoseki and Fujisawa have already been found contaminated with radioactive cesium exceeding the limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
That decision is expected to come next week, sources said.
– #Radioactive Rice Hay in Tochigi: 106,000 Becquerels/Kg Cesium (EX_SKF, July 25, 2011):
The Tochigi prefectural government announced the number on July 25. 106,000 becquerels/kg of cesium in the hay is the highest level so far found outside Fukushima Prefecture. If reconstituted, it would be 24,246 becquerels/kg. The safety limit for the cattle feed is 300 becquerels/kg.
The rice hay was collected in a dairy farm in Nasu Shiobara (more than 100 kilometers southwest of Fukushima I Nuke Plant) and sold to the cattle farm in the same City. Something doesn’t quite add up to the story of the both sides, though. According to Asahi Shinbun (7/24/2011):
The seller (dairy farmer):
He received the rice hay from a nearby rice farmer in exchange for the manure. He rolled the rice hay into 38 rolls and left them outside. The rice farmer had kept the rice hay in the rice fields after the harvest last fall.
He then sold the rolled rice hay to the cattle farmer via his acquaintance, by saying “it cannot be used as feed”. “I never imagined the hay would be fed to the cows.”
The buyer (cattle farmer):
“I was never told that the hay was rolled on March 20. If I had known, I wouldn’t have bought it.”
He got 16 rolls of rice hay from the dairy farmer on April 4 to sell them to the cattle farmer. The dairy farmer told him that the hay was probably radioactive, but the middleman, the dairy farmer’s acquaintance, answered that the cattle farmer would use it for composting.
More info here:
From the article:
“Japan has no centralized system to check for radiation contamination of food, leaving local authorities and farmers conducting voluntary tests. Products including spinach, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tea, milk, plums and fish have been found contaminated with cesium and iodine as far as 360 kilometers from Dai-Ichi.
Hay contaminated with as much as 690,000 becquerels a kilogram, compared with a government safety standard of 300 becquerels, has been fed to cattle. “
– Threat to Japanese Food Chain Multiplies as Cesium Contamination Spreads (Bloomberg, July 25, 2011):
Radiation fallout from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant poses a growing threat to Japan’s food chain as unsafe levels of cesium found in beef on supermarket shelves were also detected in more vegetables and the ocean.
More than 2,600 cattle have been contaminated, Kyodo News reported July 23, after the Miyagi local government said 1,183 cattle at 58 farms were fed hay containing radioactive cesium before being shipped to meat markets.
– Over 2,600 Meat Cows Suspected of Being Fed with Radioactive Rice Hay (EX-SKF, July 23, 2011):
The number was 1,697 yesterday, and to that, 944 cows from Miyagi Prefecture alone were added overnight, bringing the total to at least 2,641.
Tokyo Shinbun, citing Kyodo News (7/23/2011):
Miyagi Prefecture announced on July 23 that additional 944 meat cows from Miyagi Prefecture suspected of being fed with rice hay collected after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident had been shipped to 6 prefectures – Tokyo, Yamagata, Miyagi, Kanagawa, Chiba and Niigata. The total number of potentially contaminated cows shipped from Miyagi is now 1,183.
– Thus Spread Radiation All Over Japan – Through Contaminated Cows (EX-SKF, July 22, 2011):
I had expected the wide spread (other than the radioactive plume from Fukushima I Nuke Plant) of radioactive materials in Japan to occur via the radioactive debris in the Tohoku region as municipalities far away from Fukushima are asked to receive debris for burning and burying to help clean Tohoku after the earthquake/tsunami (and conveniently missing is a mention of nuke accident).
That can still happen, but it is the radioactive beef from the cows that ate radioactive rice hay that have brought radiation everywhere in Japan.
– Another Premium Japanese Beef (Yonezawa Beef) Affected by On-Going Cesium Scare in Beef and Rice Hay (EX-SKF, July 22, 2011):
From NHK Kabun (science and culture division) Blog’s tweet on July 22:
In response to the radioactive rice hay that’s been fed to the meat cows, the council that manages the Yonezawa-gyu (cow) brand in Yamagata Prefecture has decided to halt the auction for the remainder of this month and stop the shipment of cows voluntarily. This voluntary halt of shipment is spreading in the beef producing areas outside Fukushima Prefecture.
Matsusaka-gyu in Mie Prefecture has been detected with radioactive cesium, though well below the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg, which by the way allows for the radiation from radioactive cesium up to 5 millisieverts per year.
Last to be affected by this radioactive beef/hay scandal: Kobe-gyu anyone?