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Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the results of tests being carried out into the absorption of radioactive elements by sheep and cattle in the county of Cumbria.

[pursuant to her reply, 3 June 1986]: Results of tests issued by my Department on 30 May show that levels of Iodine 131 are now very low in milk and meat from sheep and cattle in Cumbria and continuing to fall. Levels of Caesium 137 and 134, which are more persistent radionuclides, are generally low, but higher readings have been found in the meat of some hill sheep and lambs in upland areas in Cumbria which were subject to high rainfall over the weekend of 2–3 May. These animals are not yet ready for slaughter and no specific action is required at present. My Department will continue to keep a close watch on levels in livestock in Cumbria and other areas of high deposition throughout the summer and as animals become ready for slaughter.