US Beef Shipment Violates Japanese Trade Accord

US - The farm and health ministries said that they have found 4.5 kilograms of ground beef, which is banned under a trade agreement between Japan and the United States, in a shipment from Kansas.
calendar icon 12 August 2008
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According to Usagnet, the ministries said they have decided to ban beef imports from the Kansas factory that shipped the beef, adding the latest incident marks the third time that the facility has infringed the bilateral accord intended to safeguard against mad cow disease.

"No other plants have violated the accord more than twice"
A Japanese farm ministry official.

The ministries have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to thoroughly investigate the case as the latest infringement is the ninth since Japan resumed imports of U.S. beef in July 2006 on condition that meat is obtained from cattle aged 20 months or younger and that "specified risk materials," such as spinal columns and brain tissue deemed to be closely linked to the bovine disease, are removed.

Ground beef is also banned under the bilateral accord due to the difficulty of checking whether it includes risk materials or meat from cattle older than 20 months, reports Usagnet.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the ground beef was among around 3.8 tons of beef that arrived in Japan on July 24 after being shipped from a Cargill factory in Dodge City, Kansas.

"No other plants have violated the accord more than twice," a farm ministry official said, indicating that Japan will take a strict stance on imports from the Cargill factory.

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