'Safety declaration' is powerless without government's specific measures on
beef -- Akahata editorial, October 19, 2001

Tests for mad-cow disease on all cattle to be processed for meat began on
October 18, a month after the infection was discovered in Japan, and the
government at the same time declared that beef on the market is safe.

This declaration is questionable. The government is responsible for the
outbreak of the disease in Japan.

The World Health Organization in 1996 advised its members not to use
meat-bone meal for cow as it involves the danger of infection with bovine
spongiform encephalitis (BSE) or mad-cow disease. But the government did
nothing more than issuing a circular about the matter. The government,
which failed to take adequate control measures, is responsible for the
possible consequences of meat-bone meal being used for more than 9,500
cattle, as far as is known as of October 15. The government allowed the
infected cattle to be processed into meat-bone meal, instead of having them

The need now is for the government to take concrete and sufficient
measures to defend food safety, not to just declare that "beef is safe."
Only a strict inspection system can bar any uncertain materials from the
market and restore the people's trust. Disclosure of information on
suspicions about primary test results will prevent confusion, even before
the final result is established.

It is also necessary for the government to compensate producers and
traders for their losses. Every route from the import of meat-bone meal to
its consumption must be carefully monitored. (end)