Japan may shortly resume beef imports from United States

Japan may shortly resume beef imports from the United States and Canada after an expert panel said that the risk of mad cow disease is almost the same between North American and Japanese beef, as long as certain conditions are met.

The prion research group that falls under the Food Safety Commission released a report on the safety of American beef on Monday.

It said that if beef from North American cows younger than 20 months is imported, and the risky parts such as brains are removed, the chance of infection with mad cow disease is no more than local beef.

The group is set to release a final report on the issue, and government officials expect it to suggest lifting the ban on imports of North America beef. Following this, the government will begin fresh import procedures for U.S. and Canadian beef.

Both the U.S. and Canadian governments have announced that exporters must prove their beef is from cows younger than 20 months old, and must remove all brain and other risky parts.

Members of the prion research group also said that both U.S. and Canadian exporters must meet these conditions.

Some members of the group apparently were reluctant to recommend resuming beef imports as they don't know how meat-processing plants in the U.S. and Canada will remove the risky parts of cows, reports Daily News. I.L.

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