Open letter: Our demands regarding mad cow disease in Brazil
To: Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi
From: Food Safety Citizens’ Watch
January 9, 2013
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) announced on December 8, 2012 on its homepage that beef from Brazil was infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and that import of beef products from Brazil were banned from that same day. The following are problems regarding the slow response which we would like MAFF’s Risk Management Agency to reply to before January 21, 2013.
1) Why was the news about the Brazilian cow that died from BSE in December 2010 (at age 13 years) not announced until December 8, 2012?
2) Between 2010 and 2012, Brazilian beef products were imported for two years. 935 tons of heat-processed products were imported in 2010, and 1435 tons in 2011, an increase from 17% to 21% of the total imports. Please clarify how the beef products were distributed and consumed around Japan.
3) Please respond to the public regarding your ideas about taking responsibility for the risks associated with BSE and vCJD.
4) The import ban for beef products from Brazil will be kept in place until March, 2013 but until the results are presented and the consultation of the Food Safety Commission has reduced the risk, the import ban should be maintained. We also note that OIE still puts Brazil in the category of “negligible risk countries” and wonder why OIE is reluctant to change Brazil’s status. In addition, we strongly urge Japan to require all imported beef products to be fully investigated as soon as possible.
By: Kamiyama Michiko, FSCW