June 3, 2019


16 years after ban due to BSE, US beef gains full access to Japan


Japan has lifted its last restriction on beef imports from the United States, almost 16 years after the East Asian country banned US beef and beef products following the detection of a BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease)-positive animal in the US.


US Agriculture Secretary of Sonny Perdue said the US and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan's restrictions on US beef imports


The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow US products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since December 2003.


"This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious US beef", Perdue said.


"We are hopeful that Japan's decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies", he added.


Japan earlier restored partial access for US beef muscle cuts and offal items from cattle 20 months of age and younger in December 2005, and by February 2013, Japan extended access to include beef and beef products from cattle over 20 months but less than 30 months of age.


Last January, Japan's Food Safety Commission (FSC) concluded that eliminating the age restriction for beef from the US as well as Canada and Ireland posed a negligible risk to human health. Japan then began consultations with the US to revise its import requirements


The US Department of Agriculture estimates that this full access will increase US beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually. Japan is the US' top global beef market in terms of value.