Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama, right, huddles with his aide during a press conference on the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, in Tokyo on Friday March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE
TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry says it has ordered more tests after a cow slaughtered for beef near the tsunami-stricken nuclear plant was found to have radioactive contamination slightly higher than the legal limit.
Officials stressed that the meat was not ever put on the market. Contamination has already been found in vegetables and raw milk near the plant, which has been leaking radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Ministry spokesman Taku Ohara says the cesium was found in a cow slaughtered March 15 more than 40 miles (70 kilometers) from the plant. People within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius have been evacuated.
The cow had a total cesium level of 510 becquerels per kilogram. The limit is 500. A person could eat beef with that level of contamination for decades without getting sick.