U.S. BSE Measures Don't Satisfy Japan

New U.S. measures to deal with mad cow disease are not good enough, Japan's agriculture minister said Tuesday as that country prepared to send a team to Australia and New Zealand to look for alternative supplies.

Japanese Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei told reporters the new measures, announced last week, fell short of what was needed to reassure Japan, the biggest buyer of U.S. beef, over the safety of U.S. meat.

"The safeguards are not up to the level of those (in Japan)," Kamei said, adding he wants the United States to conduct the same type of tests on meat that Japan does. The Japanese conduct tests for BSE on all cattle used for human consumption.

A Japanese government source told Reuters News Service on Monday that a Japanese technical team was planning to go to the United States this week to review U.S. safety measures.

Japan's trade minister will visit Washington D.C. this week for talks with a number of U.S. officials and has said that beef will be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Japanese agriculture officials were due to arrive in Australia Thursday to meet cattle farmers before heading on to New Zealand, a spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in Sydney told Reuters Tuesday.

Replacing U.S. beef sales could almost double Australian beef sales to Japan, but Reuters reports there is concern that demand might outstrip supply – especially if other Asian nations come shopping for beef as the industry expects.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.