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sw

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Dow Jones Newswire, February 15, 2006



Japanese Lawmaker Group: US Processes Beef "Perfectly"



TOKYO (AP)--A group of Japanese lawmakers said Tuesday they believe most U.S. companies process beef "perfectly" following an inspection tour of processing plants in Kansas. But the farm minister said Japan will not lower its safety standards for U.S. beef imports because of mad cow fears.



The five lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party also severely criticized U.S. authorities over a veal shipment last month with banned bone material that prompted Japan to halt U.S. beef imports, saying there would be no resumption without a full investigation.



"We got the impression the plants were handling meat bound for Japan perfectly," said Toshikatsu Matsuoka, a former senior farm minister who led a tour to three Kansas facilities including Tyson Foods' (TSN) processing facility in Emporia and the Creekstone Farms Premium Beef processing plant in Arkansas City.



"But it's also true the U.S. authorized an irresponsible company to export beef to Japan, causing trouble for everyone and threatening Japan's food supply," Matsuoka said. "That's unforgivably sloppy, and imports won't be resumed till we get a thorough explanation" from the U.S., he said.



The comments came after farm minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Japan would not lower its beef safety standards even if the World Organization for Animal Health eases its rules for beef exporters.



Japan, which imposed a ban on U.S. beef imports in 2003 after the discovery of the first American case of mad cow disease, eased the ban in December on two conditions: that imports be limited to meat from cows aged 20 months or younger, and that brains, bone marrow and other parts thought to be high risk for mad cow disease are removed.



The U.S. has argued that meat from cows 30 months and younger is safe, citing global standards.



The LDP mission's findings, which were presented to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday, contradicted those of an earlier fact-finding trip by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. The DPJ mission said the Tyson facility did not completely remove banned parts from the beef it processed.



Tyson Foods has twice protested the claim, according to public broadcaster NHK.



Commonly referred to as mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is a degenerative nerve disease in cattle that is linked in humans to the rare but fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.



Washington has said a full report on the veal shipment with the banned bone, exported by New York company Atlantic Veal and Lamb, could be delivered later this week.



Before the ban, Japan was U.S. beef's most lucrative overseas market, buying some $1.4 billion worth in 2003.
 
A

Anonymous

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Could be a cold day in Hates before we ship beef to Japan--If they are going to hold us to the standard of proving the USDA and the US Government "efficient".... :wink:

-------------------------------------
Most U.S. beef processors safe: LDP team


By KANAKO TAKAHARA


Staff writer
Most U.S. beef processing facilities looking to export beef to Japan are taking sufficient measures to satisfy the criteria agreed upon between the United States and Japan, an inspection team of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday.


Kumiko Ito of the activist group Peace Boat takes a heart-shaped chocolate that reads, "I love you for protecting our lives and safety" to the farm ministry for minister Shoichi Nakagawa, asking the government to keep tight restrictions on U.S. beef.

Toshikatsu Matsuoka, who headed the five-member mission, said the Department of Agriculture should be held responsible for authorizing a facility that did not know the requirements for beef to be exported to Japan. Veal from that facility was found at Narita airport on Jan. 20 with backbones that should have been removed before shipping, prompting Japan to reimpose a ban on U.S. beef.

"Most facilities are doing enough," Matsuoka told a news conference. "The irresponsible system of the agricultural department has caused a great deal of trouble for diligent factories."

A team from the Democratic Party of Japan that visited the U.S. earlier this month said prohibited high-risk parts were not being completely removed from beef processed by Tyson Foods, Inc. The company denied the allegations.

The LDP team was in the U.S. on Friday and Saturday to inspect Tyson and another major processing facility that had been shipping beef to Japan. They did not visit the New York meatpacker that included the spinal material in its shipment because it is no longer on the list of facilities allowed to export to Japan.

Matsuoka also said the central government should check whether measures taken by the U.S. government are efficient before it resumes U.S. beef imports.

Earlier in the day, the inspection team met with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to report the results of the U.S. trip.

It is necessary to get to the bottom of why the spinal-cord incident occurred and take measures to prevent it from happening again, Matsuoka quoted Koizumi as saying.

The Japan Times: Feb. 15, 2006
 

PPRM

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Did I read, "[u]Unforgivably[/u] sloppy???????

What would the explanation be? Ummmmm we messed up...........


PPRM
 

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