Atfer several years and a fair amount of recent bickering, Japan and the good ol’ USA have reached an agreement regarding beef imports and exports.
From the Washington Post article:
For the first time since mad cow disease was found in an animal in Washington state two years ago, American beef producers will be able to sell to the once-lucrative Japanese market, Agriculture Department officials said yesterday.
Under an agreement announced in Hong Kong, the United States and Japan will resume purchasing beef from each other.
Or to put it another way, wealthy Americans can now buy authentic Kobe beef again, and the Japanese can now receive beef that has been raised under questionable Mad Cow Testing practices.
Hmmm… I wonder who got the better of the deal here?
To be fair, Japan has also had a recent bout of bad luck with BSE, which undoubtedly put them in an odd position at the negotiation table. But they worked things out, and ironed out a deal that is designed to lower the risk of importing BSE from the United States. The key component in the contract is that Japan will only buy beef from the US that is less that 21 months old when slaughtered.
I’m guessing that the Japanese didn’t have the latest information discovered by the Consumer’s Union which discovers that the USDA allows the use of the brains of younger cattle, as well as the rest of the carcass, to be fed to pigs and chickens, and then the pigs and chickens can be fed to cows. Oh, and cow blood could still also be fed to calves as milk replacer.
(It should be noted that the Consumer’s Union article states that it’s the FDA which allows this action to take place. However, it’s the USDA that sets these practices. The article has this bit wrong. Draw your own conclusion on the rest of it.)
I’m sure Japan was aware of these facts before signing on the dotted line.