Japan Wants US to Test

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Oldtimer

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Japan urges U.S. not to scale down mad cow testing
TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) - Japanese consumers, already wary of eating U.S. beef due to mad cow fears, will become even more concerned if the United States goes ahead with plans to cut back on its mad cow testing, a government official said on Thursday.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is drawing plans to scale down its mad cow surveillance programme that found two of the three U.S. cases of the disease, including one this week.

Japanese experts and consumer groups have said the current U.S. programme to test only 1 percent of the 35 million cattle slaughtered in the United States each year is insufficient, compared with the Japanese system that requires all cattle aged 21 months or older to be tested for mad cow disease.

"Japanese consumers are concerned about the U.S. way of conducting surveillance," Japanese Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara said at a news conference on Thursday.

Ishihara said U.S. beef would not win Japanese consumers' confidence unless the United States properly carries out its mad cow surveillance programme.

"American beef won't sell in Japan unless they regain trust from Japanese consumers," he said.


Since June 2004, the USDA has tested more than 650,000 head, mostly older and higher-risk cattle, for mad cow disease through its so-called expanded surveillance programme. The programme initially was expected to run 12 to 18 months.

Acting Undersecretary of Agriculture Chuck Lambert said on Wednesday the USDA would shift to a "maintenance" programme that would test fewer cattle and monitor the effectiveness of U.S. safeguards.

"By any stretch of the imagination, we have proven we have a very low incidence," Lambert said.

Japan banned imports of American beef in December 2003, following the discovery of the first U.S. mad cow case in Washington state. Before the ban, Japan was the top importer of U.S. beef, with imports valued at $1.4 billion in 2003.

Last December Japan lifted its ban on imports of beef and beef offal from U.S. cattle aged up to 20 months, on condition that specified risk material that could transmit mad cow disease, such as spinal cords, were removed before the meat was shipped.

But the ban was reinstated just a month later after Japanese inspectors discovered banned cattle parts in a veal shipment from New York.

The Japanese government has said it cannot allow U.S. beef imports to resume until Washington finds the cause of the violation and takes steps to prevent a recurrence.
 

cmjust0

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I think the real question is not how much it costs, but WHOM it costs..

I don't see why cattle producers really should worry over how much it costs, so long as the cost is passed on to the consumer -- as it should be.. They're the ones who want the reassurance, so let them pay for it.

I fully believe that if you put two packages of ground beef on store shelves -- one marked "Certified Mad-Cow Free," and the other... well.. NOT marked as such, the consumer is going to pay a little extra for the 'safe' beef..

Coincidentally, the pork industry (in cahoots with the USDA) is about to start labeling pork as "trichinosis free," meaning that the consumer can leave it tender and juicy without fear.. They're not going to test the meat, mind you -- just certify the facility where the meat was raised. :roll: The few remaining independent pork producers will have to get the USDA to certify their independent farms based on regulations drawn up in large part by 'industry leaders' if they want their pork to be certified safe.. What do you think the chances are of that happening??

That being said, I don't see how anyone can even wonder why the USDA *won't* allow carcass testing for BSE in cattle.. How much you wanna bet they'll end up getting with 'industry leaders' and start certifying *contract beef producers* as BSE free, based on a check of their facilities..

And, like independent pork producers, independent beef producers will be stuck selling 'unsafe' meat -- unless they contract out.
 
OP
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Bullbuyer":2w98gp01 said:
Does anyone know the exact cost - per animal - involved with this testing ? I don't think I've ever seen this posted anywhere.

Not sure what the cost of testing is...I've seen figures thrown out of between $15-$30 head- altho that may not include the cost of segregation of carcass's before the results are back...

I guess the main factor is that several of the independent Packers claimed they could test and make it economically feasible...Creekstone even went so far as to build a multi million $ laboratory to test-- before USDA denied them the use of the test ( at the request of the Big 4 Packers, who were not set up to test)...

Creekstone has claimed that Japan would pay the difference of what it cost to test- which would have allowed thousands of more US and Canadian cattle tested at no cost to the taxpayer and would have immediately opened up the Japanese market.... BUT we wouldn't want anyone getting an advantage over the Big 4 Corporate interests- and the corporate owned USDA inc. saw to that ;-) We have the best government the corporate world can buy :mad:

And according to the NCBA's new President their analysis shows that for every animal slaughtered while our export markets are closed producers lose $175...
 

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