Wild boar meat available in Austrian supermarkets contains high levels of radiation even twenty-five years after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, an environmental group said Friday.
Tests commissioned by the Austrian group Global 2000 found that radioactive caesium levels -- at 1,060 becquerels per kilogramme (Bq/kg) -- were far over the legal limits of 600 Bq/kg, the group said at a press conference.
"This meat should have been destroyed immediately and should never go on sale. But we bought it quite normally," said Global 2000 nuclear expert Reinhard Uhrig.
The group purposely bought meat from Austrian regions known to have suffered most from the fallout following the 1986 explosion at the Ukrainian nuclear plant of Chernobyl.
And while the caesium was now only half as radioactive as right after the catastrophe, the levels were still high, said Global 2000, which campaigns against nuclear power.
The problem was especially serious with wild boars, as they like to feed in winter on truffles that grow deep in the ground and are rich in caesium.
In the German regions of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg, all wild boars that are killed must be tested for radioactivity, and past results have already shown concentrations over 10,000 Bq/kg, Global 2000 noted, calling for similarly regular tests in Austria.
Instead, the national Health and Food Safety (AGES) was "actively disinforming" the population by saying that levels of radioactivity in game were too low to have an impact on one's health.
Austria, where wild boar meat is commonly found on restaurant menus and in supermarkets, voted against nuclear power in a referendum in 1978 and has since campaigned strongly against it.