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From: TSS (
Subject: JAPAN TO REVIEW BSE TEST FRIDAY Ministries to seek panel's view on mad cow testing 20 months and younger o.k. ?
Date: October 6, 2004 at 10:51 am PST

JPN to review BSE test Friday

Ministries to seek panel's view on mad cow testing

Wednesday October 6, 2:21 PM

The health and farm ministries plan to seek an advisory panel's approval, possibly Friday, on the policy of easing the blanket testing for mad cow disease in a manner that would set the stage for resuming U.S. beef imports, ministry sources said Wednesday.

After the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries put forward the policy to the Food Safety Commission in the Cabinet Office, the government will resume full-scale talks with the United States on a possible easing of a ban on U.S. beef imports later this month, the sources said.

The ministries' policy will feature a call on the Japanese government to exclude beef cattle which are 20 months old or younger from the test, while asking the United States to dispose of the brains and spinal cords of all cattle to prevent them from reaching consumers, they said.

The brains and spinal cords are thought to be the most likely parts to be contaminated with mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. At present, such parts of cows older than 30 months are to be removed in the United States.

The policy will also call on the United States not to feed meat-and-bone meal to cattle, avoiding cross-contamination in feed mills, according to the sources.

The health ministry will seek another recommendation from the Food Safety Commission about the safety of U.S. beef, after Japan and the United States strike a deal on conditions for Japan's lifting of a ban on U.S. beef imports.

It is therefore unclear whether Japan will be able to resume imports of American beef by the end of the year, according to the sources.

Japan banned beef imports from the United States after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was found last December and insisted that U.S. beef cattle be tested for BSE in the same way as cattle in Japan.

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