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.