Kyodo news service reports that Japan's health and farm ministers are planning to seek an advisory panel's approval to exclude from testing beef cattle 20 months of age or younger.
Earlier this week representatives from Japan met with U.S. officials to discuss easing Japan's ban on U.S. beef instituted after the first finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) last December.
The ministers also are asking the U.S. to dispose of the brains and spinal cords of all cattle (specified risk materials) to prevent them from reaching consumers. This would require all cattle SRMS be banned from not only ruminant feed, but from all animals' feed. The U.S. has not agreed to this demand, but has been pushing for the lowered testing age since a large percentage of U.S. beef are slaughtered before 20 months of age.
Initially U.S. negotiators and industry representatives thought sometime in the 3rd quarter beef trade would be fully or partially resumed. However, Kyodo reports it will be difficult to have trade recommence by the end of the year.