Posts Tagged beef

2011/08/20 20:21 – Retailers Begin Independent Radiation Checks

Reality is forcing consumers and businesses to make increasing use of their own initiative and of private sources. Will consumers continue to insist on more government assistance with food-safety checks? Will they continue to be disappointed with the results (too little, too late)? Will increasing numbers of consumers and local governments look elsewhere for help?

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Supermarket operators and other food retailers are increasingly conducting independent radiation checks on their products amid growing concerns among consumers about food safety.

Supermarket chain Ito-Yokado Co. has started strengthening radiation checks at its own farms, and many restaurant operators have bought radiation dosimeters and begun their own inspections.

These moves come after sales of Japanese beef at supermarkets tumbled following the discovery that cattle fed with rice straw tainted with radioactive cesium had been shipped to many parts of the country.

Ito-Yokado has conducted radiation checks on cow manure, rice husks and wood chips that had been used at its own farms until August in four locations in the Kanto region, including Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Tomisato, Chiba Prefecture. It has also used a third-party organization to check soil and unused manure at its farms.

Major supermarket operator Aeon Co. (8267) will ask a third-party organization to conduct radiation checks on rice produced in 2011 for its “Topvalu” private brand.

Kakiyasu Honten Co. (2294), which operates a chain of shops selling prepared food dishes, spent about 20 million yen to buy a germanium semiconductor detector that can pick up even low levels of radiation and recognize different types of radioactive substances. It started checks on beef on Aug. 12.

via 2011/08/20 20:21 – Retailers Begin Independent Radiation Checks.

Please note: “These moves come after sales of Japanese beef at supermarkets tumbled following the discovery that cattle fed with rice straw tainted with radioactive cesium had been shipped to many parts of the country.”

It did not take petitions, complaints, paperwork, committee-meetings to get these private checks. It merely took a tumble in sales. In other words, prices send the quickest signals, and businesses that run on profit and loss react quickly to those signals.

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Japanese Government Will Lift Shipping Ban on Cows from Fukushima and Miyagi (Hello #Radioactive Beef Again) | EX-SKF

Yesterday, I predicted growing and lingering uncertainty and doubt in the minds of Japanese residents for a long time to come. Doubts about the accuracy of food-safety and information about food-safety; doubts about the trustworthiness and reliability of the sources, doubts as to the sources (is this food really where the package says its from?). There will continue to be doubts, even if the source of information seems sincere and trustworthy, due to the unpredictable nature of radiation accumulation in different foods.

Below is more evidence for my prognosis. From EX-SKF who is quoting from his own translation of a  Mainichi Shinbun (8/18/2011) news item:

The Ministry of Health and Labor wanted the contaminated rice hay out of the cattle farms as a condition to lift the ban. On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fukushima/Miyagi Prefectures insisted the rice hay remain within the farms as long as it was separated from the cows, because it would be hard for the farms to secure the storage space outside the farms.

So the Ministry of Health and Labor lost. This is the Ministry that’s supposed to protect consumers.

Will they test all the cows? No they won’t. Not even in Fukushima. They only test the meat of the cows raised in the planned evacuation zone and evacuation-ready zone right outside the 20 kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuke Plant. For everywhere else in Fukushima Prefecture, the first cow to be shipped from a cattle farm will be tested. If that passes the test, all cows can be sold.

Even when they do test, they will just do the simple test using “affordable” instruments that cost only a few thousand dollars and take only 15 minutes to test, and as long as the number is below 250 becquerels/kg they won’t test further. Only if it goes above 250 becquerels/kg, they will use expensive instruments that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take 1 hour to test.

What about the news at the end of July that radioactive cesium is NOT distributed evenly in the meat, not even within the same part?

via Japanese Government Will Lift Shipping Ban on Cows from Fukushima and Miyagi (Hello #Radioactive Beef Again) | EX-SKF.

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