The Japanese government will hold discussions with meat industry bodies as per recommendations given on October 22, 2012 by the Food Safety Commission. The government will hold discussions on the issue of easing restrictions on beef imports from the United States and other Western nations.
American and Canadian beef from cattle aged more than 20 months old were banned in Japan, due to the outbreak of mad cow disease, which is formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Beef imports from France and Netherlands were banned as well.
However, a recent report suggested that beef imports from the United States, France, Canada and Netherlands can be permitted for cattle aged up to 30 months. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that there are plans to poll Japanese citizens this year in regards to the issue, as well as hold consultations with exporting countries.
According to the new rules, beef imports are likely to commence from early next year. The findings from the committee revealed that if humans consume cattle aged 30 months or younger, it is highly unlikely that they will develop a variant of the degenerative neurological disorder known as Creutzfeldt Jakob.
The ministry also said that the commission’s recommendations, as well as their control and inspection methods will be discussed at a meeting next month at the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation council subcommittee.