Sunday, April 16, 2006


Mad Cow Case Is Found in Canada

Canada on Sunday confirmed a case of mad cow disease at a farm in British Columbia. It is the country's fifth reported case since May 2003, when the United States closed its border to Canadian beef after sick cows had been found in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Thursday that it had what it suspected was a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. In humans, meat products contaminated with the disease have been linked to more than 150 deaths, mostly in Britain, from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal nerve disease. The 6-year-old cow was identified on a Fraser Valley farm through a national surveillance program. In a written statement, the inspection agency said the case would have no bearing on the safety of Canadian beef, because no part of the animal had entered the human food or animal feed systems. The animal was the second one to test positive for mad cow disease that had been born after a 1997 ban on certain types of cattle feed, which were believed to spread the disease. The cow's age has led to questions about the effectiveness of the ban, because the disease has been believed to spread only when cattle eat feed containing certain tissues from infected cattle....

Tokyo weighs lifting beef ban

Tokyo is moving closer to cutting a deal with Washington to resume imports of American beef, which have been suspended since January. The move, which apparently has the support of the prime minister, is meant to head off U.S. demands that Japan raise its quota on rice imports, but critics say the government is putting relations with its No. 1 trading partner ahead of consumer safety. Japan first banned imports of U.S. beef in December 2003 after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was reported in the United States. It lifted the ban late last year, but only on several conditions, including that imports contain no risky body parts. When the U.S. beef reached Narita International Airport in January, however, inspectors found it contained spinal column, one of the parts prohibited under the agreement. Tokyo cannot afford to risk Washington's ire at the moment, according to agriculture ministry officials in favor of working toward lifting the ban. The United States has a commanding position at the World Trade Organization's Doha round of negotiations, which plans to set up rules by the end of this month. "We want to avoid a situation where Japan is pressed into making a large expansion of its rice imports because it refused to resume U.S. beef imports," an agriculture official said....

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