Day after day, the news on the sale of cesium meat from a large area surrounding that of the Fukushima plant in Japan is becoming increasingly worrying. The contaminated cattle distributed to restaurants, shops and even schools in 45 of the 47 existing prefectures would in fact be no less than 1,500, against the few dozen initially discovered.
Last week the government extended the ban on the sale of meat to a much larger area than the one totally off limits and equal to about 8,500 square kilometers, but the alarm is far from over and the situation still appears out of control. .
According to the reconstruction of some Japanese and international media, the disaster was caused by an unfortunate combination of superficiality, ignorance and a misunderstood sense of protection towards the small communities in the area. In fact, in the weeks following the accident, the government had urged ranchers and farmers to keep their livestock indoors and not to use fodder that had remained outdoors and which could therefore have been contaminated by radioactive rain.
Result: the forages were used regardless of the storage conditions, and the measurements made in these days revealed cesium contents in them from 50 to 500 times higher than the safe limits, also suggesting that the fall out was probably much more broader than what was stated by official sources. The advice to breeders, not coercive – according to the official version – to protect the economic activities of the area, has therefore remained such, and has not even reached all the interested parties, if it is true that many breeders have declared that they are not aware of the measures. to be adopted and to have essentially continued to work as before.
And that’s not all: the checks on livestock were carried out on a random basis and in many cases only on the radioactivity present on the skin of the cattle, without any measure of that of the meat that would then have been consumed. Also in this case, only now has the government decided to organize more in-depth tests on 4 thousand heads from the prefecture of Fukushima.
Finally, there seems to have been no control even on hasty and below cost sales: the suspicious items would have been sold at a third of the normal cost and even when the gravity of the situation was now evident, ending up in large-scale distribution.
Despite all this, Goshi Hosono, the Minister of Nuclear Energy, has repeatedly stated that consuming cesium meat on an occasional basis should not (the conditional is his) have serious consequences on health, arousing harsh criticism from the Japanese scientific community, which instead he stressed that there is no data on the matter, and asked for much stricter rules with respect to the supply of schools, all open this season.
The change of attitude of the authorities, which seem to finally begin to take charge of a situation that will take years before being able to return to normal, is belated not only for the damage already done, but also because, according to various revelations, citizens no longer believe to a government that has repeatedly betrayed their trust or, least of all, to producers and distributors of food: the case of meat comes after the discovery – always when it was no longer possible to deny the data – of contamination of milk, tea , spinach, seaweed and other commonly used foods.