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USDA to Japan: "Take it ot Leave it".......

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USDA official says technical beef debate with Japan 'over'

by Pete Hisey on 4/27/2005 for Meatingplace.com

Charles Lambert, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said in Japan Tuesday that he considers the technical end of negotiations to reopen the Japanese market to U.S. beef over. According to Kyodo News Service, he said, "We've supplied information, and we've worked on the export verification program. As far as discussions, from our point of view we consider this over."

Lambert is in Japan with a technical team of experts. He said the United States turned over new data to Japanese technical experts, including the results of 440 tests of beef samples to verify the age of cattle. Lambert said the tests accurately showed that the oldest animal tested was 17 months old. He restated the American position that such analysis, based on meat quality and bone formation, coupled with the removal of specified risk materials like the spinal column and brain, will guarantee the safety of beef shipped to Japan.

Asked if he worries that Japanese consumers may boycott American beef even if the government deems it safe, Lambert said consumers "will make their own purchasing decision."

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