Almost seven years after Japan reopened its market back up to U.S. beef imports, the country’s Ministry of Health has announced that import rules restricting the import of U.S. beef will be relaxed.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Executive NewsWatch, regulations regarding the import of cattle 20 months of age and younger will be relaxed following a final announcement that is slated for Feb. 1.
Beef from U.S. cattle 30 months of age and younger will be allowed under the new rules.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working with Japan to lift the age limit on imports of U.S. beef and to define the risk materials that must be removed from beef before it can be imported by Japan.
Japan implemented bovine spongiform encephalopathy-related trade restrictions on beef imports from the U.S. in late 2003. Up until that time, Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef.
The Japanese market for U.S. beef reopened in 2006 with a requirement that beef imported from the U.S. be from cattle 20 months of age or younger with the entire spine removed.