Beef import controls to be relaxed

Kyodo

The health ministry will ease controls on beef imports imposed to counter mad cow disease by raising the cattle age limit to 30 months from the present 20 months.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will make the relaxation effective possibly early next year after consulting with Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United States over the management of cattle ages.

The move, announced Tuesday, comes after the Cabinet Office’s Food Safety Commission reported last month that the effects of easing controls to 30 months on human health are “ignorable.”

The relaxation of controls will allow more than 90 percent of U.S.-produced beef to fulfill the new criteria, the ministry said.