Japan to Resume Beef Exports to U.S
Aug 27, 2012 05:06 AM EDT | By Sharon Robinson
After talks between the two countries during the last few months, the U.S. has finally relented to resume imports of beef from Japan. The imports were halted due to a breakout of foot-and-mouth disease in Japanese cows.
When the Japanese cows were tested for foot-and-mouth disease, by the inspectors in the U.S., the results were found to be positive. As a result, beef imports from Japan have been banned since April 2010, reports Reuters.
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Foot-and-mouth disease is a debilitating illness, which renders the cows unable to walk or even stand. Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive and sought-after beef in the world, one of the most popular Wagyu beef being Kobe beef. As a result of the foot-and-mouth disease in Wagyu cows, exports of Wagyu beef have fallen drastically.
Miyazaki prefecture, the hub for livestock farming, was hit hard by the export curbs, reports The Standard.
The decline in the exports of beef was further exacerbated by the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011, in Japan, which hit the nuclear plants in Fukushima prefecture. Cows in the nearby areas were found to have consumed radioactive hay and grass.
The imports of beef were to begin Aug. 17, but the U.S. put it off to ensure that the beef imports met the sanitary requirements of the USDA.
According to Reuters, the U.S. will accept beef from those cows which were slaughtered on, or after, Aug. 18, after the cows were found to meet the U.S. standards. The beef exports from Japan, before the foot-and-mouth breakout, stood at $1.08 billion, but after the 2010 curb, fell to $210 million, the report adds.
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