Despite 'limitations,' Japan will keep testing all animals -
A senior farm ministry official said Japan will continue blanket testing for BSE despite the "technical limitations" of the approach, The Japan Times reported. During three days of trade talks with the United States last week, Japan admitted that blanket screening has shortcomings in determining whether young cattle have been infected with the brain-wasting disease. According to Mamoru Ishihara, Japan's vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the country will not immediately change its policy of testing all slaughtered cattle for BSE because there is no established theory yet for detecting the disease. Japan closed its border to U.S. beef imports after a Washington state cow was found to have BSE last December. Blanket BSE testing has been Japan's main condition for re-establishing beef trade, but the U.S. has rejected this demand, saying it has no scientific basis.
posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 12:44 PM
Japanese feeding on more information
Source:— Kristal Arnold, editor, Food Systems Insider
One Japanese restaurateur has added animal-specific information, including animal ID, the name of the producer and BSE-testing information, for each beef item on the menu. One Japanese beef association has recommended other restaurants follow suit. Full story. Media Watch on Japan's coverage of BSE-testing issue.
In related news, a major Japanese supermarket chain plans to list detailed ingredients on 13,000 prepared-food products it processes or sells in its stores, hoping to help consumers with allergies.
This Japanese restaurateur and the supermarket chain show progressiveness in responding to rising consumer awareness and interest in food safety. But in addition, through its own cattle-identification system, the restaurant operator evaluates the meat, stores it in a database based on individual ID numbers and meat producers, then passes the information on to those producers to help them improve beef quality. The consumer motivates the restaurateur, who in turn stimulates action all the way to the producer level. This is a great representation of a coordinated and communicative food system.
posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 9:40 AM