Japan bans all domestic distribution of cattle feed made of recycled meat
TOKYO (AP) – Responding to concern over the nation’s first case of mad cow disease, Japan banned the domestic distribution Monday of cattle feed made of recycled cow parts.
Japan had already banned imported meat-and-bone meal.
The new move, which comes into effect Thursday, also bars the use of domestic and imported meat-and-bone meal in fertilizers, said Tadahiko Tashiro, an Agriculture Ministry spokesman.
Tashiro said that under the measure, which he said is aimed at easing worries among consumers, the government will incinerate all meal containing recycled animal parts that is currently sitting unused.
”With this measure, I am convinced that we have created a system that will completely shut out any possible infection by BSE,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tsutomu Takebe told parliament Monday. BSE stands for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the formal name for mad cow disease.
Japanese authorities confirmed last month that a Holstein dairy cow in central Japan was infected with the brain-wasting illness, making it Asia’s first known case. Mad cow disease has devastated Europe’s cattle industry.
Investigators suspect that the cow contracted the disease by eating infected animal feed. The cow was slaughtered in August.
To restore public confidence in Japanese meat and dairy products, the government is checking all of the country’s 4.5 million cows for the sickness, which is thought to cause the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
So far, 95 percent of the herd has been confirmed disease-free, said Yasuaki Ogikubo, an official in the Agriculture Ministry. Ogikubo said the nationwide check has revealed no new cases.
The ministry has been criticized for not preventing the disease from entering Japan and for moving too slowly to ensure it doesn’t spread.
Consumer groups have rapped the government for delaying the ban on domestically produced feed, saying the ministry was more concerned about protecting Japanese ranchers and related industries than safeguarding public health.
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