Thursday, March 18, 2004

meat news

In this order:

1. Allen Johnson, the top U.S. agriculture trade negotiator, said he doesn't rule out possible World Trade Organization action against Japan if it shows no flexibility in working toward a resolution on the country's import ban on U.S. beef.

2. A senior Japanese government official said his country would likely revise its blanket ban on U.S. beef imports, telling those at a Tokyo news conference Thursday that Japan would likely accept meat from individual U.S. companies that test all their cattle for BSE.

This is the first time a senior Japanese official has said publicly the government would mull a partial-lifting of its beef ban.

Also in today's

  • The top veterinary officer of the U.S. Agriculture Department told an industry audience here Wednesday that the agency was "close to making an announcement" on licensing of rapid testing technology for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to support USDA's ramped-up surveillance program unveiled March 15....

    He also deflected criticism that plant personnel would be used in some cases to select animals for BSE testing, repeating earlier statements that because the newly expanded testing program includes "some healthy animals," it would not affect the validity of the data if certain animals were identified by the private sector....

    "Nobody should be shocked if we find a few more positive cases," he said. "We're certainly confident that the level of infectivity in our feed supply is low. But even if [another BSE case] does occur, it is not necessarily a problem, because we've already taken the steps to protect the food supply by removing the risk materials from older cattle.

    "We may need to tighten up our feed ban a bit, depending on the data we get from these heightened levels of testing," DeHaven said, "but that's why it's important to obtain this snapshot. If we find additional infectivity, then we'll advance more safeguards.

  • A full-blown ban on antibiotic use in poultry moved a step closer to reality Tuesday, as an administrative law judge upheld the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion that Baytril's use in chicken can help spur drug-resistant bacteria that could infect humans.

    At issue [is] the class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, which include the popular drug Cipro. The FDA has concluded that that use of fluoroquinolones in chicken is a significant cause of antibiotic-resistant strains of campylobacter.

  • Japanese poultry and pork processors will begin maintaining and offering the same product traceability to their retail customers and consumers that they currently offer for beef....

    Starting next month, Nippon Meat Packers will enable customers via the Internet to pinpoint the farms where its chickens and hogs were raised and to find other information, such as feeds and vaccines used in raising the animals.

    Information will be available for the 45 million chickens that are raised each year at four farms in Japan. These birds account for about 70 percent of the domestically raised chicken for the Nippon Meat Packers group.



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