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From: TSS (216-119-139-234.ipset19.wt.net)
Subject: Re: JAPAN LAUGHS OFF GWs PROPOSAL TO END BEEF BAN 'Japan is in no hurry to end the ban'
Date: September 23, 2004 at 8:25 am PST

In Reply to: JAPAN LAUGHS OFF GWs PROPOSAL TO END BEEF BAN 'Japan is in no hurry to end the ban' posted by TSS on September 23, 2004 at 6:36 am:

JPN consumers upset over BSE plan

Consumers, producers criticize gov't over planned looser BSE test

Consumers and producers criticized the government Thursday over its plan to loosen BSE testing, while university students expressed concern over Japan succumbing to the United States in giving up its blanket testing.

The criticism came in a meeting held in Sapporo jointly by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry to explain the plan to representatives of consumer groups and beef producers.

Among about 120 participants, one producer said consumers will not buy beef that has not been tested and urged the government to continue blanket testing until the cause of the BSE outbreak in Japan is discovered. The first case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was found in September 2001.

A consumer group representative expressed concern about purchasing beef if the practice of labeling beef to identify whether it is inspected or not is discontinued, and argued that the government was holding the meeting to pave the way for resuming imports of American beef.

In the city of Muroran, a university recently conducted a survey on 300 of its students and 71 percent of them argued against the U.S. claim that blanket testing is unscientific.

But 34 percent expressed concern that the Japanese government will compromise and succumb to U.S. pressure to resume beef imports, according to the survey conducted by the Muroran Institute of Technology.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission endorsed a recommendation put forward by a panel of experts that referred to the difficulty of detecting mad cow disease in cows aged up to 20 months using the current testing method.

The recommendation effectively called on the government to exclude beef cattle aged up to 20 months from the blanket testing which Japan began in October 2001 shortly after confirmation of the first BSE case in Japan.

asia.news.yahoo.com

Only 7 prefectures to use looser BSE testing even if gov't adopts it

Thursday September 23, 6:49 PM

Only seven prefectures in Japan intend to adopt looser BSE testing even if the government decides to remove beef cattle aged up to 20 months from testing for the brain-wasting disease, according to a recent Kyodo News survey.

In the survey covering 46 of Japan's 47 prefectures, the majority said they are still "in the process" of deciding, indicating they will clarify their positions after seeing how consumers and producers react.

Their reluctance apparently reflects concerns among local governments about consumers turning away from beef due to the looser tests for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Only Tokyo was not covered in the Sept. 15-22 survey.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission endorsed a recommendation put forward by a panel of experts that referred to the difficulty of detecting mad cow disease in cows aged up to 20 months using the current testing method.

The recommendation effectively called on the government to exclude beef cattle aged up to 20 months from the blanket testing which Japan began in October 2001 shortly after confirmation of the first BSE case in Japan.

Gifu, which has the high-grade Hida-brand beef as its specialty agricultural product, and Mie, the producer of Matsusaka beef, emphasized that they will continue testing all cows for the disease, the survey said.

In addition to the two prefectures, Yamagata, which produces Yonezawa beef, said it is considering continuing blanket testing, the survey found.

Of the prefectures such as Aomori and Nara which said that they will follow the policy likely to be adopted by the government, some expressed the need for the government to explain the scientific ground for loosening the testing.

Okinawa Prefecture said it will adopt the government's policy only if "the government concludes it will be okay (to adopt the policy) based on scientific evidence."

Other prefectures, however, said that all prefectures should adopt the same measures, as Hiroshima said application of different testing methods by prefectures "will cause confusion among customers."

Osaka also voiced concern, saying, "If neighboring prefectures continue blanket testing, consumers may only choose to buy tested beef."

Meanwhile, prefectures where many cows aged up to 20 months are processed are worried about financial burdens, as they will have to bear the costs if they decide to continue blanket testing.

asia.news.yahoo.com


TSS





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