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January 24, 2006
Japan Confirms BSE Case in 64-Month-Old Cow

Japan has confirmed that a 64-month-old cow that died last week in Hokkaido, northern Japan, had mad cow disease, the country's 22nd case, an Agriculture Ministry official said on Tuesday.

The news comes just four days after Japan reimposed a ban on imports of U.S. beef that it put in place two years ago in response to fears about the disease.

The ministry official said the carcass of the Holstein cow would be destroyed and would not enter the market.

Japan only requires cattle aged 21 months or older to be checked for mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), as the older cattle are believed to have a higher risk of developing the disease.

However, all local governments in Japan continue to check all cattle for BSE due to strong consumer concerns about the disease as experts say a human version of BSE can be transmitted by eating infected meat.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human version of BSE, is blamed for more than 150 deaths worldwide, including one in Japan.

Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef last Friday after it found banned spinal material, believed to carry a high risk of causing BSE, in a shipment from the United States.

Tokyo, the top overseas market for U.S. beef prior to the ban, has said it will not resume U.S. beef imports without an explanation from the United States of how the banned material came to be found in a shipment of U.S. meat.

Japan first halted U.S. beef imports after the discovery of a case of BSE in Washington state in December 2003, halting annual trade worth about $1.4 billion.

It had lifted the ban last month after the United States agreed that BSE risk materials would be completely removed from beef shipments to Japan.

Source : China Broad Cast