Government's panel decides to exempt young cattle from BSE testing

In disregard of consumers' concerns about mad cow disease, the Japanese government is moving toward exempting cattle 20 months old or younger from a blanket testing of all ages for BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).

The government Food Safety Commission's panel of experts on September 6 drafted an interim report specifying the age of cattle for the testing, saying, "BSE hasn't been detected in the cattle 20 months old or younger."

The report will soon be approved by the FSC and submitted to the health and agriculture ministries. The government will then revise ministerial ordinances to ease the blanket testing standards and exclude cattle 20 months old or younger from testing.

The September 7 issue of Akahata expressed deep concern that the government move might pave the way for allowing U.S. beef to be imported without testing.

The United States has only required cattle 30 months old and over to be tested. It has repeatedly pressured Japan to resume beef imports without testing.(end)

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