Japan Halts Beef Imports from U.S. Company

A U.S. company violated Japan's beef import rules.

Swift & Co., a Greeley, Colorado beef plant, violated Japan's rules for beef sent to the country, leading Japan to halt imports from that plant.

Officials in Japan found unapproved gland matter in an Oct. 30 shipment that included 11 tons of beef products. The beef material is not classified as a health risk, but has not been approved for import into Japan.

After banning the import of U.S. beef when officials found bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the U.S. in December 2003, Japan reopened beef trade with the U.S. in December 2005. Only a month later, discovery of unapproved materials in one shipment prompted Japan to close its borders to U.S. beef again, only allowing shipments again recently.

The recent trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan approaches violations on a plant-by-plant basis. Officials in Japan are asking U.S. authorities to look into the mistake at the Greeley plant before resuming trade with the company.

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