Japan plans to ban cattle shipments from Fukushima in response to growing concerns about the safety of beef originating from the area.
The Japanese Government says that 136 cows are now known to have eaten contaminated rice straw.
Health, Labour and Welfare Vice-Minister Kohei Otsuka told Japanese television: “At present we are talking about a ban on beef from Fukushima… In the future, depending on our investigation result on contaminated rice straw, we will decide on how we will deal with the situation.”
The move comes more than four months after the earthquake and tsunami which left more than 15,000 people dead and sparked the world’s worst nuclear disaster since 1986.
Earlier in July radioactive cesium between three and six times higher than safety standards was found in beef shipped to Tokyo from a farmer in Minami Soma city, near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japan’s second-biggest retailer said on Sunday it had sold beef from cattle that had eaten nuclear-contaminated feed.
Shipments of certain vegetables from areas near the plant have also been halted due to high radiation levels, while cesium was found at levels above safety limits in tiny “kounago” fish in waters near Fukushima, stoking worries about seafood consumption.
Health officials say that eating small quantities of contaminated beef does not pose a health risk.
Last week, the Japanese Government announced plans to order “stress tests” for the nation’s nuclear reactors hoping to bolster public confidence shaken by the March earthquake and tsunami.