October 30, 2008


Japan suspends imports of Swift & Co. beef

Japan has suspended beef imports from a Swift & Co. plant in Nebraska, US, after an uncertified beef part was discovered in a shipment, said the Japanese government. 


In the 19 tonnes of frozen beef that arrived in Japan's Osaka on Monday (October 27, 2008), quarantine officials found about 60 kg of bovine thymus that was not listed on a sanitary certificate issued by the USDA.


The Japanese government had asked the US to explain why an uncertified part had been included in a shipment to Japan.


Thymus is not a part that is likely to transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. However, the Japanese agriculture and health ministries said they do not know if the thymus meets regulations that ban imports of US beef derived from cattle aged 21 months or older.


This is the 10th shipment containing an uncertified beef part since Japan resumed US beef imports in July 2006.
None of the 60 kg in the shipment was distributed to the market.
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