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-USDA Had Notified Japan of Meatpacker Violations ?

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HAY MAKER

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Beef Breaches Known Before Japan Sales


02/16 09:14


-USDA Had Notified Japan of Meatpacker Violations

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan knew that all but two U.S. beef processing plants which were allowed to export to Japan had violated U.S. rules to prevent mad cow disease from reaching humans, a news report said Thursday.

Thirty-six of the 38 meatpackers allowed to export to Japan after Tokyo lifted a two-year ban on U.S. beef had previous records of violating the rules to remove at-risk parts from cows, the Asahi Shimbun reported, citing Japan's Health Minister, Jiro Kawasaki.

Japan eased the import ban in December on the condition 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.

Last month, however, Japan suspended imports of U.S. beef after finding a veal shipment containing backbone, which Japan considers at high risk of mad cow disease.

Kawasaki said during a Parliamentary meeting Wednesday that the U.S. Agriculture Department had notified Japan of the meatpackers' history of violations in August, according to the paper. The companies had violated U.S. rules at the time.

The health minister said, however, that Japan concluded safety standards at those facilities were met after the facilities took measures to comply with the guidelines laid out in the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, the report said.

Health Ministry official Yutaka Konishi said he could not confirm the minister's comments or the number of U.S. facilities that apparently violated rules in the past. Officials at the Agriculture Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported more than 1,000 violations between January 2004 and May 2005 of rules that require brains, spinal cords and other nerve parts be removed when older cows are slaughtered.

The rules, which apply to the animal parts thought most likely to carry mad cow disease, were created in response to the first U.S. case, which appeared in December 2003. No contaminated meat reached consumers, the agency has said.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday that Japan will maintain its strict standards for U.S. beef imports because Japanese are particularly sensitive about food safety.

Mad cow disease is the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a degenerative nerve disease in cattle that is linked in humans to the rare but fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

(SK)
 

Econ101

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If Johannes is really delaying and cancelling the fines to the packers, what real leverage is being used against them to make sure they follow the rules for the U.S. consumers? Seems a little one sided to me.
 

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