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From: TSS ()
Subject: Study shows U.S. would have missed 9 BSE cases
Date: July 16, 2005 at 6:41 pm PST

Study shows U.S. would have missed 9 BSE cases


Japanese food safety regulators were questioning the safety of U.S. beef after a Ministry of Agriculture study showed nearly half of the 20 mad cow cases found in Japan would have passed unnoticed if tested under U.S. methods, officials said Friday.
Scientists on a Food Safety Commission panel have called for more details on a second case of confirmed mad cow disease in the United States, a move that could delay a decision to resume American beef imports, expected in late August, officials said.

The ministry report, submitted to the panel Thursday, showed that nine of the 20 cows found to have mad cow disease in Japan would have been sent to market because they looked healthy according to U.S. testing methods.

The result prompted concern among the panel, ministry spokesman Hiroyuki Kamakawa said. He said they want to assess the extent of mad cow infections in the U.S. to calculate the risk of excluding healthy-looking cows from testing. Japan tests all cows before slaughter while the U.S. only tests those that display signs of the disease.

Last month, Washington confirmed that a 12-year-old cow born in Texas had tested positive for mad cow disease. It was the country's second case of the brain wasting disease found in cattle, but the first in a U.S.-born cow. The first case was traced to a dairy cow imported from Canada.

The Japanese panel members are also concerned because the cow initially tested negative before the infection was confirmed by a British laboratory.

The panel's assessment on the safety of resuming U.S. beef imports depends on how soon Tokyo can obtain the requested information from Washington, a Food Safety Commission official said on condition of anonymity, hinting at a possible delay in the panel's decision.

Concerned about further pressure from Washington, Agriculture Minister Yoshinobu Shimamura urged the Japanese food safety experts to "reach a good decision promptly."


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