U.S. beef measures "fall short"

"Japan distrusts U.S. beef. To overcome consumer distrust, the U.S. needs to put in checks and checks and more checks to minimize the risk of human error," said Kiyotoshi Kaneko, professor of physiology at Tokyo Medical University. "The new measures fall short."

Kaneko, who was on the Food Safety Commission's prion panel, which set the conditions for resuming U.S. beef imports, was skeptical about U.S. safety measures.

"Increasing paperwork is not enough," Kaneko said.

"The U.S. made a promise to comply with the conditions. It broke that promise, and needs to realize it is now working from a position of low credibility."

Read the rest of today's story here and the U.S. report is available here, and a transcript of the U.S. Embassy press conference (a good read!) is here.

As I see it, the U.S. should approach this issue with great care. Exports to Japan are not the same as selling beef in the U.S. (for one thing, prices that Japanese consumers pay are much higher) and beef is not eaten in the same way as in other countries. The fact that the U.S. doesn't test its herds properly for BSE is not lost on Japanese consumers either. If Japan wants to lift the import ban, it will, but I'm not impressed by the arguments or explanations that the U.S. side are putting forward. The solution? "Safety first".

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