veggies.jpg (6769 bytes)fruitbowl.jpg (6391 bytes)Japan Confirms 26th Mad Cow Disease Case

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Japan Confirms 26th Mad Cow Disease Case

USAgNet - 05/15/2006

Japan has confirmed its 26th case of mad cow disease in a 5-year-old dairy cow in the country's northern province of Hokkaido, The Associated Press reported, citing the Agriculture Ministry as saying Saturday.

Meat inspectors found Thursday that the cow tested positive for the disease and a panel of Agriculture Ministry experts confirmed the infection Saturday. No part of the sick cow got into food or feed chains, the ministry said in a statement.

The new mad cow disease case was confirmed as Japanese and U.S. officials prepare to meet as early as next week to discuss the Japanese ban on US beef. The ban was initiated in December 2003 after the US confirmed its firs case of mad cow disease.

The ban was eased last December to allow imports of US beef from cows aged 20 months or younger, which are believed to have a lower risk of contracting mad cow disease.

The import restriction was re-imposed in January after a shipment of US beef was found to carry risky parts such as backbone, which are believed to be likely carriers of contagious agents of mad cow disease.

In Japan, every cow intended for human consumption are subject to tests for mad cow disease. In contrast, the US does not test any cows unless the cow is so sick that it could not walk into the slaughterhouse or there are signs indicate the cow may suffer the mad cow disease.

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