Food safety-conscious consumers call for stricter measures on BSE

Japanese consumers are strongly opposed to the attempt to resume importing U.S. beef on the grounds that its safety has not yet been confirmed.

The National Campaign for Defense of the People's Food and Health on March 2 made representations to the health ministry demanding that priority be placed on food safety by rejecting the U.S. pressure to lift a ban on U.S. beef.

In their meeting with ministry officials, representatives of this consumer group, referring to the recent death in Japan associated with BSE infection causing-CJD (Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease), said, "Despite the present need to strengthen safety measures to deal with BSE, to exempt cattle 20 months old or younger from testing will only help increase concerns."

Pointing out that the present measures do not require the origin of processed beef to be labeled, they argued, "If the ban on U.S. beef imports is lifted, consumers could eat BSE-infected beef without knowing it.

They also demanded that the government introduce a traceability system and a labeling requirement regarding the origin of all processed meat. (end)

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