Japanese nuclear-contaminated beef “sold in and around Tokyo”

TOKYO, (Reuters) – Japan’s second-biggest retailer  said yesterday it had sold beef from cattle that ate  nuclear-contaminated feed, the latest in a series of health  scares from radiation leaking from a quake-crippled nuclear  power plant.

Cases of contaminated vegetables, tea, milk, seafood and  water have already stoked anxiety after the world’s worst  nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, despite assurances from  officials that the levels are not dangerous.

Aeon Co said it had sold the contaminated beef at a  store in Tokyo and at more than dozen stores in the surrounding  area, as radiation continues to spill from the Fukushima nuclear  power plant four months after the March 11 earthquake and  tsunami.

Aeon, which competes with top retail group Seven & I  Holdings , said in a statement cattle from Fukushima  prefecture were given animal feed originating from rice straw  that exceeded the government’s limits for radioactive cesium.

Japan was now likely to ban shipments of beef, hugely  popular in Japan, from around Fukushima, a cabinet minister said  yesterday. It was not immediately clear what had delayed such a  move, likely to inflame criticism that the government has been  slow in its response to the crisis.

Aeon said it sold 319 kg (703 lb) of the beef from April 27  to June 20 at one shop in Tokyo and other shops in Kanagawa and  Chiba. Aeon said it also sold the beef at outlets in Shizuoka  and Ishikawa, both in central Japan.

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