Japan's Agriculture Ministry reports a 20-month-old Holstein steer slaughtered for beef northeast of Tokyo has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Confirmatory tests are being conducted.
If it is confirmed, Japan may require new restrictions if or when beef trade resumes with the United States. Currently the agreement allows for shipment of beef from animals under 21 months of age, already lower than the world standard of 30 months of age.
According to an article posted on Meatingplace.com, only one other animal this young has ever tested positive for the disease. It was in the United Kingdom in 1992 when BSE was at its peak.
Since 2001 Japan has found 24 BSE cases.
South Korea sets trade resumption timeline
Prior to the latest domestic BSE find in Alabama, South Korea was expected to resume beef trade with the United States by March. Now it is expected to be another few months before a decision is made.
Agriculture Ministry spokesman Lee Yang-ho says the first shipment of U.S. beef could arrive in South Korea around June.
South Korean officials are examining the records of the Alabama case. A fact finding team may be sent to the United States next week to confirm findings of the epidemiological investigation. Another team may be sent in May to examine the 33 processing plants approved for exporting beef to South Korea.