US expands mad cow beef recall

Japan’s leader says they are not yet ready to discuss lifting a ban on American beef. This is definitely bad news for Nebraska producers, and at least some packers came out of Japan. Japan is the largest market for US beef. It bought over $1 billion beef from the States last year. Now it is among more than two dozen nations that banned American beef import.

The December 23 announcement that a single case of mad cow had been found in Washington state led a handful of foreign nations to ban imports of American beef and sent down both cattle futures and share of huge processors including Tyson Foods.

An American agriculture delegation traveled to Tokyo to discuss the mad cow disease scare.

Moving to contain both the possible spread of mad-cow disease and its potential economic impact, U.S. agriculture officials expanded the scope of a beef recall and said a team will go to Japan to tout the safety of American beef.

The recall originally targeted 10,000 pounds of meat processed at one facility but upon further investigation, the USDA said that bits and pieces of the diseased cow may have gone to as many as eight states, including Alaska and Idaho and the U.S. territory of Guam.

However, in a Sunday morning press conference, USDA officials also said the risk to consumers is "zero" since the infected parts - brain and spinal cords - would likely not have made it onto American dinner tables.

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