Stop claiming food is safe, ministry told

Japan Times, Aug. 8, 2011

Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto has committed an about-face on policy by telling his ministry to refrain from vouching for the safety of Japanese food. The ministry stance changed after radiation-tainted beef was found to have been sold to consumers nationwide, sources said.

The contaminated meat is coming from cattle that were fed rice straw contaminated with cesium isotopes ejected by the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On July 8, Matsumoto said that he wanted to dispel food safety concerns by explaining what the government is doing to prevent tainted food from making it into the food supply.

But several countries have since asked about the beef scare after several cattle suspected of being fed tainted straw were found to have been slaughtered and theirta beef shipped to market months ago to stores and restaurants.

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