Trade Resumption with Japan One Step Closer

Next step is holding public hearings for consumers on the change.

Japan has taken another important step towards beef trade resumption with its Food Safety Commission's approval of reducing the age for testing cattle that are 20 months or younger in age.

DowJones reports that a subcommittee of the commission approved the policy change, saying that young cattle have an extremely small chance of becoming infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Washington continues to pressure the nation to resume trade because of an October 2004 agreement. Quick action is still not on the agenda of Japan.

After receiving the recommendations from the subcommittee, the Food Safety Commission will hold public hearings to hear opinions from consumers about the rule change. DowJones reports that the commission is likely to present its proposals on revising the food safety standards to the agriculture and health departments by the end of April.

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