The following is a quick monitor of one Washington farm and trade policy issues from DTN’s well-placed observer.
Japan’s Ministry of Health has asked its Food Safety Agency to assess whether the risk of consuming beef from cattle aged up to 30 months and originating in the United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands is higher than the risk of consuming beef from cattle no older than 20 months.
Japan currently limits imports from the United States and other countries to beef from cattle no more than 20 months old and imposes the same restriction on its domestic beef because since 2001 there have been 37 cases of mad cow disease found in the Japanese herd.
Some estimate that a shift in Japan’s restrictions could increase U.S. beef trade significantly, especially if other countries follow Japan’s lead and shift their restrictions on U.S. beef. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Japan restrictions are “costing American producers about $1 billion in lost exports each year.”
A resolution to this trade issue, if it comes, will have been years in the making. Mad cow disease is a serious malady, and one that veterinary health officials around the world have worked to isolate and prevent. And these actions appear to be working. Between 1993 and last February, just 22 cases of mad cow disease were found in North America, including three cases in the United States and 19 in Canada.
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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp