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China Wants Japan Beef Smuggling to End

11 January 2008

JAPAN - The Chinese government has asked Japan to take appropriate steps to prevent travelers from smuggling Japanese beef into China, according to sources.

In an extremely rare move, Beijing in December filed the request over the food smuggling issue with Tokyo, they said.

China banned the import of Japanese beef in September 2001 when Japan found its first suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, which is thought to cause the fatal human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry notified its Animal Quarantine Service offices across the country late last month to alert airlines and related entities, the sources said.

As China's economic boom continues ahead of this year's Beijing Olympics, the country's new rich are increasingly consuming Japanese delicacies, mainly to enjoy the health benefits of Japanese food.

Regardless of the mad cow issue, Japan-raised "wagyu" beef is very popular in China for its taste and fetches high prices across the country, the sources said.

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Source: The Japan Times


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