Nuclear fears push down prices for Fukushima beef

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Fears over radiation levels have caused prices to stagnate
Fears over radiation levels have caused prices to stagnate
Beef farmers in Fukushima, Japan, are struggling with continuing low wholesale prices for their meat.

Consumer fears over radiation levels have caused prices to stagnate at 10% below average market value in the four years since the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reported The Yomiuri Shimbun​.

A representative of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) told GlobalMeatNews​: "The wholesale price of beef carcase (average of steer Wagyu) at the Tokyo Meat Market in December 2014 was ¥2,165/kg on a national average and ¥ ¥1,907/kg for the Fukushima products.

"Therefore, we are trying to disseminate proper knowledge about the safety of beef by distributing documents and holding events to increase consumption of the beef from Fukushima."

Convincing consumers that meat from the region is safe to eat has been difficult. A 2014 survey by the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency found that the proportion of consumers hesitant to buy food products from Fukushima, due to radiation fears, rose from 15% to 20% last year.

The Japanese government continues to test radioactive caesium levels in all cattle in the prefecture, euthanising any that exceed the regulated amount.

Since the standard became 100 becquerels per 100 kilograms in October 2012, no cattle have exceeded this amount.

"In addition to the meat quality, both the quality of fat and the ratio of fat to meat in Fukushima beef are of a high standard. But supermarkets, department stores, and shops that sell directly to consumers just aren’t buying,"​ Genichi Koshizuka, chief executive officer of meat wholesaler Koshizuka, told The Yomiuri Shimbun​.

Related topics: Industry & Markets, Japan, Beef

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