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JUN. 14 10:34 A.M. ET Japan's negotiations with the United States aimed at restarting stalled imports of American beef won't be set back by a suspected second U.S. case of mad cow disease, a Japanese agriculture official said Tuesday.
Washington has intensified pressure on Tokyo to end a 17-month-old ban on American beef imports, with some U.S. officials threatening sanctions unless the ban ends.
Japan was the United States' most lucrative overseas beef market before the ban started in December 2003, days after the United States discovered its first case of mad cow disease. The U.S. Agriculture Department said Friday it will seek further testing of a tissue sample from a "downer" cow -- one unable to walk -- after receiving conflicting results on tests of it for mad cow disease.
Washington, DC, Jun. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to send a brain sample from a suspected mad cow case to England to have it confirmed by experts there, after the animal had retested positive for the deadly disease, but the agency resisted both retesting and seeking the additional confirmation last March, saying it was unnecessary, United Press International has learned.
Food and Drug Administration promised to tighten feed rules shortly after the first case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the U.S., in a Washington state cow in December 2003.
"Today we are bolstering our
BSE firewalls to protect the public," Mark McClellan, then-
FDA commissioner, said on Jan. 26, 2004. FDA said it would ban blood, poultry litter and restaurant plate waste from cattle feed and require feed mills to use separate equipment to make cattle feed.
However, last July, the FDA scrapped those restrictions. McClellan's replacement, Lester Crawford, said an international team of experts assembled by the Agriculture Department was calling for even stronger rules and that FDA would produce new restrictions in line with those recommendations.
Today, the FDA still has not done what it promised to do. The agency declined interviews, saying in a statement only that there is no timeline for new restrictions.
"It's just a lot of talk," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., a senior House Democrat on food and farm issues. "It's a lot of talk, a lot of press releases, and no action."
A U.S. Agriculture Department official left Thursday for England carrying brain tissue samples from a cow suspected of having mad cow disease.