Food safety boss demands stricter inspection of U.S. beef

Food safety boss demands stricter inspection of U.S. beef

MSN News

The head of Japan’s beef safety panel said Tokyo should only import U.S. beef from slaughterhouses inspected by the Japanese government after it lifts a ban on American meat, according to a news report.The comments by Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, head of the Food Safety Commission’s panel on beef safety, came nine days after Tokyo reinstated a ban on U.S. beef imports after a shipment was found to contain banned parts at risk of mad cow disease.”I didn’t expect the latest incident to happen as I had believed the Japanese government would conduct inspections and make sure (the import conditions were met) before the actual importing,” Kyodo News agency quoted Yoshikawa as saying Saturday.Yoshikawa also recommended separate processing lines for beef destined for the Japanese market due to different rules in the U.S. and Japan regarding what cattle parts are acceptable, Kyodo said.Food Safety Commission officials were unavailable for comment Sunday.Japan’s latest ban on U.S. beef imports came just weeks after inspectors found banned spine bones, which can carry mad cow disease, in a shipment of U.S. veal.The Food Safety Commission late last year approved lifting the previous ban, which was imposed in 2003 following the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S.Japanese officials have criticized the American inspection system and refused to reopen the country’s lucrative market until the mishap is fully investigated and Washington comes up with sufficient countermeasures.On Thursday, Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara said Japan was considering limiting U.S. beef imports to about 10 facilities that Japanese officials had inspected.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns pledged Saturday to conduct a “no-holds” barred investigation into how prohibited cuts of meat were sent to Japan.Mad cow disease — whose medical name is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — is a brain-wasting disease in cattle.In people, eating meat or cattle products contaminated with BSE is linked to a rare, fatal human disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. (AP)January 29, 2006

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