Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Japan Drops Beef Import Ban

It was reported in the New York Times this day that the Japanese government has dropped its ban on beef imports from the United States under certain conditions, the most important of which is direct inspection by Japanese food safety inspectors.

Japan banned imports of U.S. beef in the aftermath of the discovery of BSE in cattle in this country. The ban was briefly lifted in 2005, but a shipment of beef from a plant in New York was found to contain backbone parts which could have contained nerve tissue. Brain and spinal column tissue parts are more likely to carry the disease causing agent than other parts.

The most important condition is that Japanes inspectors are going to directly inspect packing plants in the U.S. and can accompany U.S.D.A. inspectors on spot inspections.

This is good news for cattlemen, but it will probably take some time for exports to reach former levels.


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