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agman

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TOKYO (Dow Jones)--An expert panel on mad-cow disease intends to compile a draft report later this month that is likely to pave the way for Japan to resume beef imports from the United States and Canada in December, members said after their meeting Tuesday, Kyodo News reported.

The prospect emerged as the prion research group under Japan's Food Safety Commission agreed that the chances of U.S. and Canadian cows being infected with the brain-wasting disease are extremely low, they said.

Japan has banned U.S. and Canadian beef imports since the disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was discovered in Canada and the United States in May and December 2003, respectively.

BSE becomes detectable when prions, a type of protein, accumulate in specific risk materials such as the spinal cord and brain. The prion panel has been discussing terms for removing Japan's ban on U.S. and Canadian beef imports.

Based on the outcome of Tuesday's meeting, the panel is expected to give its scientific endorsement on the safety of U.S. and Canadian beef in the draft report, Kyodo News reported.



Japanese imports of U.S. and Canadian beef, if resumed, would be limited to beef from cows of up to 20 months old.
 

rancher

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Pressure on JPN over beef, backfire?



U.S. Pressure on Japan on Beef Ban May Backfire, Official Says



Oct. 4, 2005 (Bloomberg) -- Pressure on Japan to lift its 22-month ban on U.S. beef may result in a consumer backlash should the embargo be lifted, the head of the Japanese government panel assessing U.S. safeguards against mad-cow disease said.



``This is a situation that requires a scientific solution, not a political one,'' said Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, chairman of the 12-member subcommittee of the food safety commission. ``There are a lot of people who don't want to eat foreign beef. The more political pressure is brought to bear, the more likely it is that Japanese citizens will reject it.''



Yoshikawa's panel in a preliminary report on Sept. 27 said the risks that cow feed is contaminated by cattle remnants is higher in the U.S. than in Japan and that more time is needed to evaluate safety concerns. U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican who heads the senate agriculture committee, the same day said he may seek trade sanctions against Japan over the ban.



Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc. have been hurt by Japan's ban on U.S. beef, which was imposed in December 2003 after a case of mad-cow disease was reported in Washington state. The disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is transmitted through feed that includes ground-up parts of infected animals.



Japan has in the past been the leading importer of U.S. beef, purchasing $1.7 billion worth in 2003. That year, the U.S. exported about 2.5 billion pounds of beef, or almost 10 percent of total production. That figure fell to less than 2 percent last year and is projected at about 2.5 percent of total production this year, according to government figures.



Trade War?



The U.S. Senate voted on Sept. 20 to bar imports of Japanese beef until Japan eases its restrictions on meat from the U.S. Imports of mostly premium Kobe beef used to total about 70 tons to 100 tons a year.



The American Meat Institute said member companies including Tyson Foods and Cargill have been forced to lay off 10,000 workers since Japan and dozens of other countries closed their markets to U.S. beef. That's about 2 percent of the total meatpacking and processing jobs in the U.S.



Japanese Farm Minister Mineichi Iwanaga last week said at a press conference that he was ``afraid U.S. Congress will get very tough on the issue,'' according to the Mainichi newspaper. The Food Safety Commission has given no timetable for when it will release its final report, and Yoshikawa said that politics shouldn't be a consideration.



``We have to assess what the risks are of there being BSE- infected U.S. beef,'' he said in a phone interview. ``These things take time.''



The U.S. charges that Japan has already taken more time than originally indicated. Japan agreed last October to resume purchasing some beef cuts from U.S. cattle under 21 months of age, which scientists say have little chance of being infected. The two countries have not agreed on how to determine an animal's age.



Mounting Frustration



``You've seen certain deadlines being elapsed and elapsed and elapsed,'' Philip Seng, president of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said on Sept. 29 at a press luncheon at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan. ``The frustration level is obviously growing.''



Seng said that the U.S. beef industry lost $10 billion in the first 18 months of the ban, and that ``a tremendous amount of U.S. education must be done'' to convince Japanese that ``our product is safe.''



His federation has launched a campaign on trains in Japan with posters showing several dozen cattle grazing in a grass field under a blue sky watched by three cowboys with the caption ``nothing is more important than protecting smiling faces at the dinner table.''



Seng questioned the Japanese government's beef stance given that there have been 20 cases of mad-cow disease found in Japan compared with two cases in the U.S. Yoshikawa, who is an agriculture professor at the University of Tokyo, rejects the comparison as Japan tests all its cattle, compared with about 10 percent in the U.S.



Assuaging Concern



``In the last 4 years Japan has tested nearly 5 million heads and found 20 cases,'' he said. ``The U.S. says it has expanded its surveillance and has found 2 cases among 400,000 head. You can't compare the two.''



Yoshikawa said his commission is being as thorough as possible, and the more analysis that is done, the better informed the Japanese public will be once the final report is released.



``Should the government decide to resume imports, if the public's concern isn't assuaged, it would be meaningless,'' he said.
 

agman

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rancher said:
Pressure on JPN over beef, backfire?



U.S. Pressure on Japan on Beef Ban May Backfire, Official Says



Oct. 4, 2005 (Bloomberg) -- Pressure on Japan to lift its 22-month ban on U.S. beef may result in a consumer backlash should the embargo be lifted, the head of the Japanese government panel assessing U.S. safeguards against mad-cow disease said.



``This is a situation that requires a scientific solution, not a political one,'' said Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, chairman of the 12-member subcommittee of the food safety commission. ``There are a lot of people who don't want to eat foreign beef. The more political pressure is brought to bear, the more likely it is that Japanese citizens will reject it.''



Yoshikawa's panel in a preliminary report on Sept. 27 said the risks that cow feed is contaminated by cattle remnants is higher in the U.S. than in Japan and that more time is needed to evaluate safety concerns. U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican who heads the senate agriculture committee, the same day said he may seek trade sanctions against Japan over the ban.



Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc. have been hurt by Japan's ban on U.S. beef, which was imposed in December 2003 after a case of mad-cow disease was reported in Washington state. The disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is transmitted through feed that includes ground-up parts of infected animals.



Japan has in the past been the leading importer of U.S. beef, purchasing $1.7 billion worth in 2003. That year, the U.S. exported about 2.5 billion pounds of beef, or almost 10 percent of total production. That figure fell to less than 2 percent last year and is projected at about 2.5 percent of total production this year, according to government figures.



Trade War?



The U.S. Senate voted on Sept. 20 to bar imports of Japanese beef until Japan eases its restrictions on meat from the U.S. Imports of mostly premium Kobe beef used to total about 70 tons to 100 tons a year.



The American Meat Institute said member companies including Tyson Foods and Cargill have been forced to lay off 10,000 workers since Japan and dozens of other countries closed their markets to U.S. beef. That's about 2 percent of the total meatpacking and processing jobs in the U.S.



Japanese Farm Minister Mineichi Iwanaga last week said at a press conference that he was ``afraid U.S. Congress will get very tough on the issue,'' according to the Mainichi newspaper. The Food Safety Commission has given no timetable for when it will release its final report, and Yoshikawa said that politics shouldn't be a consideration.



``We have to assess what the risks are of there being BSE- infected U.S. beef,'' he said in a phone interview. ``These things take time.''



The U.S. charges that Japan has already taken more time than originally indicated. Japan agreed last October to resume purchasing some beef cuts from U.S. cattle under 21 months of age, which scientists say have little chance of being infected. The two countries have not agreed on how to determine an animal's age.



Mounting Frustration



``You've seen certain deadlines being elapsed and elapsed and elapsed,'' Philip Seng, president of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said on Sept. 29 at a press luncheon at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan. ``The frustration level is obviously growing.''



Seng said that the U.S. beef industry lost $10 billion in the first 18 months of the ban, and that ``a tremendous amount of U.S. education must be done'' to convince Japanese that ``our product is safe.''



His federation has launched a campaign on trains in Japan with posters showing several dozen cattle grazing in a grass field under a blue sky watched by three cowboys with the caption ``nothing is more important than protecting smiling faces at the dinner table.''



Seng questioned the Japanese government's beef stance given that there have been 20 cases of mad-cow disease found in Japan compared with two cases in the U.S. Yoshikawa, who is an agriculture professor at the University of Tokyo, rejects the comparison as Japan tests all its cattle, compared with about 10 percent in the U.S.



Assuaging Concern



``In the last 4 years Japan has tested nearly 5 million heads and found 20 cases,'' he said. ``The U.S. says it has expanded its surveillance and has found 2 cases among 400,000 head. You can't compare the two.''



Yoshikawa said his commission is being as thorough as possible, and the more analysis that is done, the better informed the Japanese public will be once the final report is released.



``Should the government decide to resume imports, if the public's concern isn't assuaged, it would be meaningless,'' he said.

They want U.S beef and they will scramble to buy it as soon as it it made available.
 

Murgen

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They want U.S beef and they will scramble to buy it as soon as it it made available.

I'll correct that statement, by saying they will scramble to buy US quality, whether that be labelled "product of USA", or imported product relabelled as such!

They may even go straight to the source of the available supply, without going through the middleman, the US!
 

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