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Beef with Radioactive Cesium Turns Up in Japan

The Japanese government tried to explain Wednesday how beef containing trace levels of radioactive cesium ended up reaching stores or consumers in several prefectures, and promised to step up inspections to prevent another such incident.

News reports said cows raised at a farm near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant likely had eaten rice straw contaminated with cesium.

The cows were shipped sometime between May and June to a Tokyo meatpacking plant, where some of the meat was found to have three to six times the allowable level of cesium. Although news reports earlier this week said none of the meat from the animals entered the market, later reports said some of it had been sold and possibly consumed.

Authorities insisted there was no need to worry about adverse health risks given the small portions of meat that would have been consumed.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, Charles Casto, deputy regional administrator at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, expressed dissatisfaction with Tokyo’s response to the matter.  The Japanese government responded by saying it would be working to shore up its monitoring program.

Since the earthquake and tsunami damaged the nuclear plant four months ago, milk, vegetables, fish and tea leaves in Japan have been found with radiation contamination exceeding legal limits.

© Food Safety News
  • federal microbiolgist

    Heh, ‘Doc Mudd’ will cheerfully eat that beef !
    He’ll do it to show us that it’s no more deadly than the E. coli-laden veggies and sprouts peddled by those tofu-headed, anti-corporate, hemp-cloth-wearing, commie, pinko, ‘foodies’.
    Bet ‘Doc’ would even overlook ingesting, along with the isotope, some little bits of feces, portions of hide, hairs, spinal cord fragments, and all that other great stuff that his buddies at the AMI, NCBA, NPP, and NMA feel some irradiation (er, excuse me, ‘cold pasteurization’) can ‘cure’….
    Ol’ ‘Doc’ knows a tasty treat when he sees it !

  • Doc Mudd

    A little ol’ German organic farmer and some ill-advised school kids kill over 50, sicken over 4000 with organic sprouts…
    …yep, Japan’s beef will have to pick up the pace if it’s gonna out-perform deadly toxic foodie fashion food.
    Caveat emptor – at the farmers market, at the CSA, at the organic co-op, at the yuppie deli at all times…just like at Japanese supermarkets lately.

  • JustTheFacts

    Chronology of the E. coli O104:H4 Outbreak Investigation – The German EHEC Task Force Final Results
    Discuss (2)
    According to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, as of today, the cumulative number of probable and confirmed STEC cases in the EU/EEA is 3,867 (not including six in the United States, including one death). This includes 762 HUS STEC cases and 3,105 non-HUS STEC cases. In total, 44 infected persons have died, of which 28 were HUS STEC cases and 16 were non-HUS STEC cases.
    In Germany, since the last update, one HUS STEC case has been excluded, and 20 non-HUS STEC cases have been reported. Within the last 10 days (4 July – 13 July), one HUS STEC case and eight non-HUS STEC cases fell ill. The last known date of illness onset in a patient with confirmed STEC O104 was 7 July 2011. This was also the last reported date of illness onset among all cases.
    Note: Suspected cases (Germany: 146 HUS STEC (7 deaths), France: 5 non-HUS STEC) are not included.
    Below is a very interesting presentation on the actual investigation of the outbreak that I received this morning. A couple of things of note: 1) How long it took from the first illness (first week of May) until the investigation got fully underway, and 2) The fact that no food item was never positively identified via test results (either because food already consumed or destroyed, or tests for E. coli O104:H4 on food are not yet advanced enough for detection).
    Like all outbreak investigations, this is a good read and a cautionary tale for Untied States public health officials and policy makers.
    Turns out it’s not the farm but the seed.
    From the Marler Blog: Chronology of the E. coli O104:H4 Outbreak Investigation:
    Breaking News – AP reports that German authorities say the farm involved in a deadly E. coli outbreak is being cleared to reopen following thorough testing and the removal of all fenugreek seeds – considered the likely source. The outbreak was traced in early June to the vegetable sprout farm at Bienenbuettel, south of Hamburg. European authorities later said one batch of fenugreek seeds from Egypt was probably the source of the bacterial outbreak that killed 53 people – 51 in Germany, and one each in Sweden and the U.S.

  • Doc Mudd

    Nuclear energy and cesium in Japanese beef are in the news and may be distracting us from preventable food safety risks right here at home.
    Yep, organic seed sprouted under organic farming protocols distributed to organic outlets in Germany killed more innocent humans than the average suicide bomber. Trusty organic sprouts sickened more innocent Germans in 8 weeks than are stricken by hepatitis B in an entire year.
    Human devastation courtesy of organic sprouts produced under inherently risky and ineffectively policed organic growing conditions – a trendy elitist fad perpetrated here in the U.S. by self-interested incestuous cults like NOFA, which lobbies for reduced food safety oversight of organic producers at the same time it plays in the role of official certifier and overseer of its own members’ regulatory compliance.
    Isn’t it about time we end this silly, dangerous inbred organic madness? Or must we wait until organic producers contaminate a segment of America the size of Germany or Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture with a fecal pathogen like E. coli O104:H4?

  • JustTheFacts

    Mudd is wrong, once again.
    In actuality — USDA, through its National Organic Program (NOP), maintains stringent legal standards governing which businesses, organizations and state agencies qualify to become accredited organic certification agents. Monitored and inspected on an annual and surprise audit basis, there are currently 53 US and 41 foreign certifiers that hold USDA-NOP accreditation.
    All certifiers have to be independent 3rd party entities. In the US about a dozen certifiers are state agencies, including the Department of Agricultures in New Jersey, NH, RI, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Oregon and Texas. And while USDA governs and oversees the NOP program, the various state and independent certifiers carry out the certification process on a local level. In addition, a number of US certifiers certify to the USDA National Organic Program standards, but also are ISO65 accredited under the International Organization for Standardization.
    More details at:
    And, check it out folks — a completely separate E. coli O104:H4 outbreak in France was traced to the same root cause — contaminated Egyptian fenugreek seed — and had nothing to do with the German sprout company — who, as the Breaking News” indicates — has been legally exonerated.

  • Doc Mudd

    Mudd is controversial…but Mudd is seldom careless with facts, seldom “wrong”, and this is definitely not one of those rare occasions.
    Only a head trauma victim, an Alzheimer’s patient or a paid NOFA propagandist could fail to acknowledge organic sprouts were the potent vehicle by which an organic farmer in Germany successfully nurtured and amplified a unique strain of pathogenic fecal bacterium, and distributed it into the food chain killing more than 50 people, making more than 4000 seriously ill.
    Likewise, the same paid NOFA operative would naturally deny the too cozy relationship of NOFA with it’s closely held subsidiary companies certifying its own members — effectively policing itself on behalf of USDA!
    Recall similar questionable arrangements have recently precipitated important catastrophes, once with the BP gulf oil spill when government regulators became too cozy with BP, and again with the Fukushima disaster when Japanese government regulators were embedded with power companies who operate nuclear reactors.
    Ample examples exist of USDA’s repeated recognition of conflict of interest on the part of NOFA and it’s puppet certifying companies:
    So, with what we’ve recently witnessed with organic food in Germany, and recognizing how regulatory conflict of interest facilitates catastrophic outcomes, the prudent person would avoid consuming NOFA-certified organic food products…or risk becoming a statistic in the next world-class organic food poisoning debacle.
    Organic food — an accident waiting to repeat.
    As always, caveat emptor, baby, caveat emptor.

  • JustTheFacts

    Thank you Mudd for proving yourself wrong, once again. Your pontifications that “Mudd is seldom careless with facts, seldom “wrong”, and this is definitely not one of those rare occasions” shows how egotistical and far around the bend “Mudd” really is…
    Actually, these citations not only demonstrate National Organic Program’s (highly detailed) vigilance but that also it has real teeth in maintaining the integrity of the organic label. Over the past decade a number of certifiers have had to relinquish their accreditation — but not so in these cases where all compliances were adequately addressed.
    The true conflict of interest is how Industrial Ag, Big Pharma, and Dirty Energy, etc. corporate position holders have spun through the government agency revolving doors to become the foxes guarding the henhouse.