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Published April 30, 2010, 09:46 AM

Japan removes ban on U.S. beef imports from Cargill plant in Kansas

TOKYO — Japan on Friday removed its ban on beef imports from a U.S. plant as measures have been taken to prevent the mixture of beef prohibited under a trade agreement between the two countries, the agriculture ministry said.

TOKYO — Japan on Friday removed its ban on beef imports from a U.S. plant as measures have been taken to prevent the mixture of beef prohibited under a trade agreement between the two countries, the agriculture ministry said.

The plant is believed to have implemented ”enough measures” to prevent a recurrence of such mixture, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in reference to a report on the matter received Monday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In August 2008, the Japanese government slapped a ban on beef imports from a Cargill factory in Dodge City, Kansas, after finding 4.5 kilograms of ground beef among 3.8 tons of beef that arrived in Japan the previous month.

Japan imports U.S. beef on condition that meat is obtained from cattle aged 20 months or younger and that ”specified risk materials,” such as spinal columns and brain tissue deemed to be closely linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, are removed.

Ground beef is also banned under the bilateral accord due to the difficulty of checking whether it includes risk materials or meat from cattle older than 20 months.

As the mixture of ground beef was the third infringement of the bilateral trade agreement by the plant, it has taken additional countermeasures such as reeducating workers, the ministry quoted the U.S. report as saying.

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