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From: TSS ()
Subject: 'Double mad cow standard' beef plan may fuel JAPAN/US consumer anxiety
Date: May 14, 2005 at 7:21 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 'Double mad cow standard' beef plan may fuel consumer anxiety
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 20:50:33 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: BSE-L@aegee.org


##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

'Double standard' beef plan may fuel consumer anxiety

Although the Japanese government is poised to exempt cattle 20 months or
younger slaughtered in the United States from screening for mad cow
disease, local governments here plan to continue checking all
slaughtered cattle.

News photo
A veterinarian checks a cow at a farm in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, for signs of
mad cow disease in this file photo.

This "double standard" approach to checking beef for the brain-wasting
disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, may confuse
Japanese consumers, according to many experts.

"The market will be warped, with imports of unscreened U.S.-produced
beef on the one side and domestic beef that has been screened on the
other," said Hiroko Mizuhara, secretary general of the Consumers' Union
of Japan, which has insisted that the blanket screening process continue.

"That would only invite confusion among consumers."

While the state plans to ease screening regulations, it is going to bear
all costs for local governments to continue checking cattle for the next
three years. "This is clear proof that there remains uncertainty within
the government," Mizuhara said.

Japan began screening every cow from October 2001, a month after it
found its first mad cow case in Shirai, Chiba Prefecture.

The country stopped importing U.S. beef in December 2003, when a
Canadian-born cow was found to be infected with BSE in the state of
Washington.

But in October 2004, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Cabinet said it
would lift the ban on U.S. beef imports by exempting cattle 20 months or
younger from BSE screening. The Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission
gave its seal of approval to the eased regulations on May 6.

Following the first domestic BSE case, beef consumption has dropped some
40 percent. "If things continue at this rate, the beef industry might
collapse," remarked a mid-ranking official at the Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries Ministry.

Initially, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry planned to set the BSE
screening target only for cattle 30 months or older, with due
consideration to standards in European countries. It has changed its
policy, however, and all slaughtered cattle are now screened.

The policy was changed amid pressure from Diet members well versed in
agriculture issues who said people would panic if screened and
unscreened meats were to be placed on the same supermarket shelves,
according to ministry sources.

Yet this scenario now seems inevitable under the so-called double
standards policy, according to critics.

Shinichi Fukuoka, a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, said: "The
domestic situation does not warrant a wholesale review of the screening
of every cow slaughtered. Continued screening is natural."

On the other hand, Takashi Onodera, a professor at the University of
Tokyo and a member of the prion research committee of the Food Safety
Commission, said: "The current checking method investigates the brain.
As a pathogenic organism in the brain cannot be detected unless fully
accumulated, the check is meaningless from a safety point of view."

Meanwhile, a Hokkaido Prefectural Government official cited "strong
anxiety among consumers" as a reason for the continued screening.

A Kagoshima Prefectural Government official added, "There were strong
calls among producers and consumers to alleviate concerns."

The Japan Times: May 14, 2005
(C) All rights reserved
------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nb20050514a7.htm

TSS

#################### https://lists.aegee.org/bse-l.html ####################





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