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From: TSS ()
Subject: Japan discovers 19th suspected case of mad cow disease at slaughterhouse
Date: June 1, 2005 at 7:02 am PST

Japan discovers 19th suspected case of mad cow disease at slaughterhouse

Canadian Press

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
TOKYO (AP) - A cow in northern Japan is suspected of being the country's 19th case of mad cow disease, an official said Wednesday.

Preliminary tests on the animal at a slaughterhouse in Hokkaido prefecture were positive, and authorities sent samples to two laboratories in the prefecture for more precise tests, a Hokkaido prefectural official said on condition of anonymity. He declined to elaborate. Kyodo News agency said final test results could be announced by Saturday.

Japan has found 18 animals infected with the fatal illness - known formally as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE - since the first case was detected in 2001. Since then, Tokyo has checked every slaughtered cow before it enters the food supply since 2001, after its first discovery of mad cow disease.

In February, Japan confirmed its first human case of mad cow disease following the death of a man with symptoms of the illness. Japanese health authorities have said it was likely the man contracted the disease while living for a month in Britain - where mad cow first surfaced - in 1989.

Japan banned U.S. beef imports after the first case of mad cow was confirmed in Washington state last December.

Amid pressure from Washington, a Japanese government panel earlier this month took a step toward partially lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports, but the decision still has to be approved by the government.

Eating beef from an infected cattle is thought to cause the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

© The Canadian Press 2005

The first case of BSE (or “mad cow disease”) in Japan
raised serious public health concerns
because of the possible transmission of
BSE to human, causing a fatal disease
– vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

Many Japanese consumers stopped eating beef
because of the concerns.

- The following month (October 2001), per capita beef consumption dropped to 42% of the previous year’s level. (Data from Japanese Government)
Some backgrounds of this consumers’ reaction include the terrifying nature of the disease …
- Even though the possibility of having vCJD is low, we could be infected just by eating.
And we can’t prevent it by heat or other measures.

- We do not know whether we get actually infected until several years later.

-Then one day, brain and central nervous systems could be attacked. And once we are attacked, this disease is incurable and leads to death.

… and generally High Expectations of Japanese consumers for food safety.
- While the annual death toll from foodborne diseases is 5,000 in US (estimate),
it is only 18 in Japan (2002) ! (Data from CDC, MHLW )

After the first BSE case in the country,
Japan introduced a comprehensive beef safety system.

BSE Preventive Measures Since October 2001

(*) SRM (specific risk materials) include, among others, brain, spinal cord and eyeballs, as well as the distal part of the ileum, of every cattle regardless of the age.
With the 100% cattle testing under this new system,
Japan has found another 10 BSE cases
(as of April 2004).

BSE Cases in Japan

Date of Confirmation

September 10, 2001
65 months
Anastasia (non-ambulatory)

November 21, 2001
67 months
No Clinical Signs

December 2, 2001
68 months
No Clinical Signs

May 13, 2002
73 months
Muscular split of forelimb (non-ambulatory)

August 23, 2002
80 months
Hip joint dislocation (non-ambulatory)

January 20, 2003
83 months
Dystaxia (non-ambulatory)

January 23, 2003
81 months
No Clinical Signs

October 7, 2003
23 months
No Clinical Signs

November 4, 2003
21 months
No Clinical Signs

February 22, 2004
95 months
Hip joint dislocation (non-ambulatory)

March 9, 2004
94 months
Hip joint dislocation (non-ambulatory)

* This case was found by all fallen stock testing on the farm, while other cases were found by all cattle testing at the slaughterhouses
Some Findings from Japan’s Cases
- Many of the BSE cases were with old cows, but there were 2 cases with much younger cattle – 21 and 23 months of age ( one of them was atypical BSE).

- None of the cows showed any clinical signs of BSE. The cattle in 5 cases were not even non-ambulatory.

At the same time, Japan introduced a new scheme that requires the government to base its food safety policy on science and to enhance risk communication.
Basic Principles of Japan’s Food Safety Policy, as stipulated in Food Safety Basic Law : May 23, 2003
- “The Protection of the Health of the People shall be a top priority.”

- “The Necessary Policy Measures shall be taken at each stage of the Food Supply Process.”

- “These Policy Measures shall be taken on the basis of Scientific Knowledge and in consideration of International Trends and the People’s Opinions.”

Food Safety Agencies in Japanese Government (Since July 2003)

While pursuing food safety and ensuring consumer’s confidence, Japan also cooperates with other countries to acquire more scientific knowledge of BSE, …
BSE was found only about 20 years ago, and there is still much we do not know about this disease. Accordingly, the OIE code is not solid and is reviewed for revision year by year.
… to prevent and ultimately eliminate BSE, and to make early resumption of beef trade possible.

Japan appreciates the ongoing efforts of the US government to improve its BSE measures, although these measures are not regarded as being equivalent to those in Japan.
Japan also appreciates some private sector efforts trying to meet the customers’request, although the support from the US government would be still necessary for these initiatives.
Japan hopes that the current US-Japan consultation on the BSE issue, including the discussions in the working group, will lead to the conclusions satisfactory to all the parties concerned.

Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: 202.238.6700 fax: 202.328.2187

©2003 Embassy of Japan. All Rights Reserved.

IF one looks at Japan BSE # 8 and # 9 BSE case ;

8. 6/10/2003 Holstein Steer 13/1/2001 23 mths

9. 4/11/1003 Holstein Steer 13/1/2002 21 mths

YOU have to hand it to Japan and it's excellent BSE surveillance program. A far cry from what the USA does. USA just sends the most suspicous TSE cattle to be rendered without any testing at all, and
the positive, positive, inconclusives, we just dont use WB, so they
will become negatives. IF done properly, by the best testing available,
the USA would have documented at least 5 cases of BSE already. BUT, when
you manipulate and cheat, when you dont look to find, you simply will not find. THE USA is only fooling itself and exposing millions to the
TSE agent due to it's cover up of TSE in the USA...TSS

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