English Newsletter

Food Safety Citizens' Watch
English Newsletter

Issue # 6, Demands with regards to the problem of American beef imports January 2006

Food Safety Citizens' Watch was established in April 2003 as a network of experts to monitor developments and make proposals to the government regarding food safety issues from the citizen's point of view.
(This text was sent to the following two ministers on January 31, 2006)

January 31, 2006

To Mr. Kawasaki Jiro, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare

To Mr. Nakagawa Shoichi, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

In addition there are still concerns about cattle cannibalism, as the U.S. continues to carelessly disregard BSE countermeasures and uses meat bone meal, beef tallow and blood meal as milk replacer and feed for domestic animals. The U.S. does not ban vertebral columns in their domestic beef, and this is also a large problem.

In this situation, the responsibility rests heavily on Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesAwho rapidly decided to re-open the Japanese market to import of beef. In addition, it is clear that the inspections conducted by Japanese officials in December in the U.S. and Canada were quite carelessly executed. Based on this, we ask the government for a prompt reply to the following demands:
Our demands:

1. Clarify the responsibility of the Japanese government with regards to the decision to reopen the Japanese market to imports of beef produced in the U.S. and Canada. Also, imports of beef from both the U.S. and Canada should be stopped, since a 4th cow found to be infected with BSE was discovered in Canada.

2. The entire amount of beef in the shipment of 390 kg where the banned vertebral columns was found should be returned or incinerated. Also, the sale of all the 1500 tons imported this time from both the U.S. and Canada should be stopped, and any beef remaining in the market should be collected and incinerated. A list of all beef importers and traders involved in this particular shipment should be disclosed.

3. Food safety, as well as the consumers' right to choose, should be guaranteed by a mandatory labelling system that shows the country of origin not only for beef and beef products sold directly to consumers, but also at restaurants and at all places where beef and beef products etc. are processed.

4. We request complete disclosure of information regarding the BSE problem, and corrections in case of mistaken information conveyed by the media.
Signed by:
Food Safety Citizens' Watch (Kamiyama Michiko, Representative)
Consumers Union of Japan (Tomiyama Yoko, Chairperson)
Japan Farmers Organizations Network (Tanimoto Takashi, Representative)
Forum for Peace, Human Rights, and Environment (Ebashi Takashi, Representative)
Food Action 21 (Tokoro Hideo, Representative)
Participants at the BSE Symposium, on January 23, 2006, in Tokyo, Japan