Tokyo market offering free meat

Tokyo’s central wholesale market in Minato Ward started a campaign Saturday to persuade consumers of the safety of beef and pork. It opened its meat market to the public and offered free “shabu shabu” and other beef dishes.

The campaign will last through Sunday, with the market offering meat, hams and sausages at about 20 percent off regular prices.

Organizers of the campaign said 200 kg of Aomori beef will be made available for the two-day event for free meat dishes.

“We want consumers to know that there is delicious beef in Japan,” a meat industry leader said.

Japan’s food industry was hammered in September 2001 by the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in domestic cattle. Three BSE cases were confirmed last year, with a fourth confirmed in May and a fifth in August.