Japan says to halt imports from one U.S. beef plant

JAPAN - Japan has decided to temporarily suspend beef imports from one U.S. plant after a cargo from the plant arrived without the necessary documentation, a Health Ministry official told reporters on Wednesday.
calendar icon 8 November 2006
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Japan lifted a ban on U.S. beef imports on July 27.

The official said the cargo concerned did not contain any risk material that would have violated safety guidelines agreed between Japan and the United States ahead of the resumption of beef imports.

Some senior government officials have said imports should be halted again if banned material was again found in a U.S. beef shipment.

Other beef imports will not be affected by the temporary suspension, the Health Ministry said.

Japan first banned U.S. beef in December 2003 after the United States discovered its first case of mad-cow disease.

Tokyo initially agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef in December 2005, but it closed its borders again a month later when Japanese inspectors found banned material in a veal shipment from a New York company.

Japan later decided to resume U.S. beef trade a second time, but on condition that certain safety measures be taken to guard against the risk of mad-cow disease.

The Health Ministry said the beef in question come from the privately held Swift & Company's Greeley Plant in Colorado.

Source: news.yahoo.com
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