National

BSE report set to please beef exporters in U.S.

Japan and the United States compiled a report Thursday stating that blanket testing for mad cow disease has limitations in terms of detecting whether young cows have been infected with the brain-wasting illness.

The report, compiled after a two-day working group meeting in Tokyo, is expected to pave the way for Japan to lift its ban on U.S. beef imports.

The meeting ran late into Thursday night, with officials spending hours fine-tuning the wording of the report.

Experts from both countries have acknowledged the limitations in question; prions — a type of protein that is suspected of causing infections — do not accumulate to a great extent in young cows.

Japan has demanded that the U.S. test all slaughtered cattle for the disease, as Japan has done since the first outbreak of mad cow disease here in 2001.

But the timing and conditions of the ban’s lifting remain unclear.

Japan maintains that the surveillance system for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the U.S. is still inadequate.

The two sides will hold higher-level talks in late August to discuss these conditions.

Experts and academics from Japan and the U.S. have held three rounds of talks over the past two months to discuss measures to remove high-risk cattle parts and other matters.

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