Washington Post notes that "The United States is one of the few beef-producing countries that does not have a mandatory animal identification system that enables it to trace a cow from birth through the slaughterhouse and beyond, though a proposal has been in the works for years. "If we discover that this case was part of a larger outbreak, we might not be able to find all the animals in that cohort that were exposed to the same feed," said Sarah Klein of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "If the feed is not the problem, then this is yet another warning shot. The question becomes: Do you wait for the big outbreak before you can justify the need for a system to track these animals?"
Washington Post: Mad cow case raises the issue of tracking livestock
Jiji/The Japan Times: Beef-related industries react calmly to U.S. BSE case; no curbs planned
South Korea: Mad over Mad Cows
Taiwan: Beef vote a warning sign: KMT whip
Taiwan: Officials, experts divided over possible BSE in milk
So, because Japan has stuck to its guns, and maintained the 30 month limit, there was not much of a problem here, as meat from old cows are not imported. Meanwhile in other parts of Asia, where U.S. trade pressure had weakened the domestic rules, you got scenes like this, in Taipei, Taiwan:
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday played a key role in a vote on a resolution to ban the import and sale of US beef following the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in California on Tuesday, a vote described by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip as a “warning sign” for the government.
The resolution, initiated by opposition parties, called for the government to order the removal of US beef from shelves, to place imported US beef under customs seal and to impose a temporary ban on imports of US beef and beef products.
“Article 5-7 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures allows WTO members to take provisional precautionary measures in case of insufficient scientific evidence on a food safety risk. The Indonesian government has suspended imports of US beef, but Presdent Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government has done nothing,” the resolution said.
I feel more sorry for the Greenpeace activist in Taiwan that tried to talk about the really serious issue of pesticide residue in vegetables:
Taiwan: Tests find more pesticides on fruit
A second round of tests on fruit and vegetables sold at six of the nation’s main supermarkets and wholesale chains showed that hazardous pesticide residues were found on 20 of the 36 products tested, Greenpeace Taiwan said yesterday.
The organization released its first report on pesticides in February, in which it revealed that 74 percent of fruit and vegetables examined in December contained 36 types of pesticide residue, with one fruit product containing residues of nine types of pesticide.
This time the survey found residues of a pesticide with reproduction toxicity — carbendazim, which may cause harm to fetuses — on items from all six of the chains surveyed, the organization said in its report.
It added that procymidone, azoxystrobin and dimethomorph, which can cause infertility, were found on items from one of the wholesale chains.
Greenpeace Taiwan’s agriculture project manager Tsai Szu-ting (蔡絲婷) said eight of the fruit products tested contained more than three types of pesticide residues, with oranges sold at Pxmart wholesalers containing eight types, kumquats sold at Matsusei supermarkets containing six types and strawberries sold at Pxmart wholesalers containing five types of residue.
Moreover, among the eight types of pesticide found in oranges, flucythrinate and carbofuran were considered as highly hazardous by the WHO, Tsai said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has in 2009 banned carbofuran residues on food sold in the US.
“The organization has communicated with the supermarkets after announcing the first report in Feburary, but the stores only chose to pull the problem items off the shelves, without taking other positive actions to change the situation and they cannot protect consumers from health problems,” Tsai said.
Although the doses of pesticide residues found on the samples were not high, the organization is concerned about the combination effect — which it compared to mixing cocktails — of several pesticides on human health, Tsai said.
A mixture of several pesticides could be even more hazardous than only a single type of toxic agent, Tsai said.
I don't eat meat, but if my veggies are sprayed that much, I would get very concerned. The more imported food you eat, the less you know about how the stuff was produced.