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Japan to ease U.S., French beef import restrictions

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I have never understood why US beef imports into Japan were halted.

The US has had four confirmed cases of BSE, whilst Japan has had 26 (according to the Wikipedia entry on Bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Sheesh. My previous comment already has three thumbs down (within 45 minutes), yet no one has been willing to comment on why US beef imports into Japan were halted.

There must be some rationale behind the thumbs down (or maybe not), and I am certainly willing to listen if anybody knows a good reason the Japanese government should have banned US beef given the significantly lower number of BSE cases in comparison to Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Sheesh. My previous comment already has three thumbs down (within 45 minutes), yet no one has been willing to comment on why US beef imports into Japan were halted.

Because they have NO argument. It's called envy and hate, pure and simple. Japan has had historically a long history of eating beef and never any real problems except those cases you were referring. There are many farms in the US where the Japanese can purchase Organic or FREE range cows if that's the case. I usually buy the best USDA Organic beef, can't be outdone, it's the tastiest mouthwatering beef out there. But yes, Japan had their own BSE problem, Japanese always forget that and we still imported their meat. But for me, most of it is too fatty, I like the leanest cut possible.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I stopped eating beef in North America after the mad cow outbreak, when both the US and Canadian governments refused permission for slaughterhouses to test every animal for BSE before releasing it for human consumption. The governments decreed that sampling 1 out of every 20,000 animals was a sufficient safety measure. I disagree, particularly since many thousands of "downer cattle" i.e. showing staggering symptoms, are simply eliminated without testing - as Ralph Kline, Premier of Alberta, said when a case of BSE was discovered there, the farmer should have done as others do and "shoot, shovel, and shut up!" CJD takes 10 to 15 years after ingesting infective prions to show up, New variant CJD is now afflicting young people in their 20s and 30s, who must have eaten the prions as children. The symptoms are being mistaken for mental illness. Prions are now implicated in mostr forms of dementia. Again CJD is virtually unrecognized, and diagnosed instead as other forms of dementia, e.g. rapid onset Alzheimer's. Do the research yourself. It's on the internet.

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@Jim Poushinsky

I stopped eating beef in North America after the mad cow outbreak

I'm curious, but based on your research do you find that beef in Japan is 'safer' than that of the US/Canada? Also, do you consequently still eat Japanese beef, but not North American beef?

I must say, images are still very fresh in my mind of staggering BSE-inflicted Japanese cattle on the Japanese news stations (before cases emerged in the US), followed by increased shelf space in Japanese supermarkets for US/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand beef and considerably less for Japanese beef (not to mention the more recent cases of beef in Japan exceeding radiation limits put on the market and served in school cafeterias).

My question still stands, why would the Japanese government deem US beef less safe than Japanese beef? The numbers and evidence just don't seem to rationalize their import embargo.

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@bass4funk

"Japan has had historically a long history of eating beef "

No, we don't have a long history of eating beef, period. Just because some people ate beef out of desperation doesn't make it a part of mainstream history.

"Because they have NO argument. It's called envy and hate, pure and simple. "

Wrong again. Politicians make illogical decisions, Japan is no exception. This article is misleading. Japan never banned American or French beef. They made it mandatory to check EACH and EVERY beef for mad cow disease whether Japanese or not. American government refused, even though some American farmers wanted to test each cow with their money as J government requested.

Australia followed J government's rule and test each cow, so that's why Aussie beef has been always available. It's typical American arrogance, "this is how we do it in our country so this is how everyone in the world should do it"

If you want to sell a product, then you need to listen to customers.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Hide Suzuki American government refused, even though some American farmers wanted to test each cow with their money as J government requested.

This seems unlikely. If an individual American cattle rancher wanted to test each of his cows, that would be his prerogative. There is no way the US government could prohibit him from doing so.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@sensato

that's because japan tests every cow before it is processed. the US tests something like 1 in every 40,000 cows. the US relies more on visual checks and also the cow's history. the caution japan takes with BSE mirrors its caution with radiation in food, which levels are set much lower than most countries.

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Japanese beef is the best.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Hide Suzuki

No, we don't have a long history of eating beef, period. Just because some people ate beef out of desperation doesn't make it a part of mainstream history.

Uh, well. If you want to say so, 40 years is not a long time in history fine, but with the export of US into Japan, it has been a lot. Imports of U.S. beef, for example, increased from 41 metric tons in 1968 to a high of 348,299 metric tons in 2000 while imports of U.S. pork rose from 7,589 metric tons in 1970 to a record 336,993 metric tons in 2008. To give this some perspective, imports of U.S. beef into Japan rose almost 850,000 percent in 33 years while imports of U.S. pork rose over 4,000 percent in 39 years.

Wrong again. Politicians make illogical decisions, Japan is no exception. This article is misleading. Japan never banned American or French beef.

Misleading? And you base your facts on.....

American government refused, even though some American farmers wanted to test each cow with their money as J government requested.

Sorry, not true in most cases. US farmers have complied with every investigation as to the safety and quality of American beef. If the findings were true, the US would halt and cease to sell US and we would be importing Aussie beef and that would never happen. The Beef industry is as safe as it has ever been. I am a big consumer of beef and I have NEVER met ANYONE that has died or that has caught the BSE. I am not saying that wasn't a cause of concern, but this is a 350 Billion industry. These farmers have no time to follow the OVER-hype that is being portrayed on the news circuits.

If you want to sell a product, then you need to listen to customers.

If that is true, then why is it that the Japanese government care and put so much stock into US beef, but after 3/11 they wouldn't even properly inspect the food chain and a lot of the contaminated food from the Tohoku area and surrounding would flow into other parts of Japan, Cheese, milk etc. So it is ok to eat tainted Nuclear fallout food, but we have to make sure we don't import US beef. I call it politics! It would be funny, if it weren't so serious.

@michikokada

Japanese beef is the best.

If you like a lot of FAT on your beef and love chewing for a long time, then maybe.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@bass4funk

"US farmers have complied with every investigation as to the safety and quality of American beef"

Again, J government made it mandatory to check EVERY cow for mad cow disease. American government refused to go along with that.

I agree with you that American beef is safe in general. I would rather eat American beef, But this is a typical thing politicians do to get some time on TV.

However illogical J government's decision is, consumers decide what to buy and set up whatever safety regulation they want. And it's not like they have been tougher on American farmers only, they have the same rule toward everyone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I get your point. I am not saying that Japan is wrong for it. My argument was that the media is always quick to point out the flaws in the system and to induce mass hysteria to the public. That's my problem. Other than that, I don't begrudge any country for wanting to follow strict food safety guidelines.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thats wrong, the americans and french will dump beef exports into Japan. How can our farmers survive when these foreigners produce cheap beef subsidised by their government regimes. I think we should just stop eatting their beef!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Tiger... It's difficult to know where you could be from. Given that the European, US and Japanese agriculture markets are the world's MOST highly subsidised and all three have had major issues with safety, corrupt labelling practices and/or massive economic inefficiencies. Now I realise that most people will churlishly 'thumbs down' those statements out of ignorance... but it doesn't matter they remain facts.

The world's healthiest meat is produced in NZ and Australia - you can moan how it doesn't taste like your grain-fed, hormone/antibiotic pumped stock that you are used to... but frankly I could care less. In the beef taste wars someone has to lose..... and I ain't crying.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@sensato

This seems unlikely. If an individual American cattle rancher wanted to test each of his cows, that would be his prerogative. There is no way the US government could prohibit him from doing so.

That's where you're wrong.

http://www.hpj.com/archives/2008/sep08/sep8/Court-UScanblockBSEtesting.cfm

https://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/05/30/some_beef_plants_want_bse_testing/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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