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Japan Finds Banned Cattle Parts in US Beef

12 October 2009

JAPAN - Japan has suspended beef shipments from an American meatpacker yesterday over its failure to remove cattle parts banned under a bilateral agreement, as officials raised concerns about US safeguards against mad cow disease.

Japanese quarantine inspectors found bovine spinal columns in one of 732 boxes shipped from Tyson Fresh Meats, which arrived in Japan late last month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries told The New Zealand Herald. Under the trade agreement, US exporters must remove spinal columns, brain tissue and other parts considered linked to mad cow disease.

The suspension affects only Tyson's factory in Lexington, Nebraska, one of 46 meatpacking plants approved to export beef to Japan. Japan will await results of a US investigation to determine the penalty for the Tyson factory, the agriculture ministry said.

The Agriculture Minister, Hirotaka Akamatsu has said that situation is highly regrettable and is looking to determine whether this was just a careless mistake or whether there is a systematic problem.

The problem emerged just one day after Minister Akamatsu returned from talks in Washington, where US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk urged him to lower Japan's strict safety standards.

Japan put a four-month ban on beef shipments from the same plant in February 2007 after finding two boxes of beef lacking verifications to show they came from cattle that met Japan's safety standards.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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