Condoleezza Rice's misuse of 'international standards'

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her talks in Tokyo with Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka pressed Japan to swiftly lift the ban on U.S. beef. She reportedly told Machimura that Japan should comply with the international scientific standards in dealing with this issue.

It is not clear what she meant by "international and scientific standards." What we know is that each nation has established measures against BSE taking into account World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.

Japanese people have gene patterns that are prone to a variant type of CDJ caused by BSE. A Japanese man who stayed in Britain was found infected with CDJ. This shows that it is natural that each country has their own way of evaluating food's impact on health that is scientific.

She should know that Japan is not the only country that bans U.S. beef. About 50 countries, including Russia and South Korea, are banning it. This is the international reality.

Conversely, U.S. measures against BSE raise questions or give rise to criticism abroad. The United States does not have any system of identifying individual cows. In the United States, removal of risky parts, including the brain and spinal cord, is required only for cattle 30 months and older. This is internationally seen as a lax safety measure.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report pointed out that the U.S. measures are defective concerning feed tests, which is critical for preventing the outbreak of BSE. The report issued warnings against the insufficient ban on feed meal and bone powder. The U.S. meat inspections' union has denounced allowing risky parts to be mixed with feed.

The U.S. government has stopped importing Canadian beef because of the outbreak of BSE in Canada. It is unjustifiable for the United States to put pressure on Japan to resume importing U.S. beef based on its situation and arbitrary logic. (end)

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