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From: TSS ()
Subject: USDA inspectors ignorant of export rules
Date: February 25, 2006 at 7:19 pm PST

USDA inspectors ignorant of export rules
Eiji Hirose Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

Two U.S. Agriculture Department inspectors, who approved the export to Japan of beef including spinal cords that should have been removed, did not receive training about meat export procedures and knew nothing about export requirements, sources close to the USDA said Friday.

According to the sources, the two inspectors pleaded ignorance about such requirements when questioned by USDA officials.

The inclusion in the meat shipment of spinal cords, which are regarded as risk parts and banned in Japan due to concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, has brought to light the faulty inspection system in the United States, as well as the U.S. government's lax supervision over meat.

On Feb. 17, the USDA submitted to the Japanese government a report on the circumstances leading to the inclusion of the questionable parts and measures to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.

The statements by the two inspectors were included in the report's appendix, which was later released by the USDA.

According to the statements, Wai Or, who approved the export of beef from Atlantic Veal & Lamb Inc. in New York, was hired as an inspector nine months ago.

He did not receive training on export procedures and did not know the export requirements for Japan, according to the statements. Or said he thought his USDA veterinarian supervisor was responsible for checking the requirements of U.S. trade partners, the statements said.

Keith Wills, who signed the export approval with Or, said he had not examined Japan's import requirements, the statements said, indicating that inspection of beef exported to Japan was not carried out.

(Feb. 26, 2006)


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