July 27, 2011

To beef or not to beef?

Cows throughout Japan have been fed rice straw from the Fukushima area with concentrations of radioactive nuclides. The rice straw in question was left out in the open after authorities had warned farmers to keep harvested feed indoors to prevent contamination from the fallout. The meat from these cows is measuring Cesium-134 and Cesuim-137 at levels higher than the allowed amount for human consumption. Unfortunately this was not picked up until after the meat had already been distributed to consumers.

My family ate some beef, should I be concerned?
- An adult eating 1kg of beef at the maximum allowed level of Radioactive Cesium is equivalent to approximately 1/50th of the annual natural occurring dose or 1/13 of the radiation received on a one way flight from Tokyo to New York. The highest level of Radioactive Cesium measured to date was just under 7 times the maximum allowed level in Japan (about 3.5 times the allowed amount in the USA).

Are other meats contaminated?
- Pigs and chickens are not fed straw and to date have not measured Radioactive Cesium above the maximum allowed amount.

Should I stop eating beef?
-  Radioactive Cesium has a half life of 60 days which means that this a short term problem.


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