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Japan Mulls US Suggestion For Correcting Meatpacker Errors

08 December 2006

JAPAN - Japanese government officials Thursday began assessing a U.S. government report recommending corrective steps to be taken by a U.S. meatpacker that made a shipment last month without proper documentation, an official said.

On Nov. 8, Japan halted beef imports from Swift & Co.'s plant in Greeley, Colo., after a shipment from the facility arrived in the western city of Osaka without proper documentation.

The "inappropriate shipment" originated from the plant's offal department where sorting of offal products was taking place, Japan's Agriculture Ministry said on its Web site, citing a report by the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The box in question was derived from cattle under 21 months of age and presents no risk to food safety, the company has said. At present, Tokyo limits the trade to meat from cows aged 20 months or younger that are handled by a select list of U.S. meat exporters.

Corrective measures proposed by Swift's Greeley plant include reprogramming scanning software to lock up the inventory scanning system when unauthorized product codes for shipments to Japan are identified, the report said.

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