Monday, July 25, 2011

Japan to Buy Australian Beef over Radiation Concern - 24th July 2011

Japanese demand for Australian beef may increase after radiation was found in domestic meat and amid concern that cesium leaks from the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant may spread further, according to Australian Agricultural Co. Ltd.

"We're expecting to see better demand out of Japan as they move away from their own herds," chief executive officer David Farley said on a conference call today. That follows a boost in demand for beef after radiation was detected in Japan's seafood in March, he said.

Cattle with unsafe levels of cesium were detected in four prefectures, the Japanese health ministry said July 23. The animals were fed tainted straw during a feed-supply shortage after the March earthquake and tsunami caused the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima plant north of Tokyo. Supermarkets including Japan's biggest, Aeon Co., said the beef was sold in Tokyo and other cities.

As radiation is found in domestic beef, we see rising demand for clean, quality meat, Farley said. "Australia itself should be well-positioned to meet their extra demand."

More than 2,600 cattle have been contaminated, Kyodo News reported July 23, after the Miyagi prefectural government said 1,183 cattle at 58 farms were fed the tainted hay before being shipped to meat markets. Some of the hay was found to contain as much as 690,000 becquerels a kilogram, compared with an official safety standard of 300 becquerels. The government banned cattle shipments from Fukushima on July 19. Read More