Japanese beef import restriction further relaxed

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (January 13) that the import restriction on beef from Japan is further relaxed with immediate effect.

     "In view of Japan's implementation of enhanced control measures against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, also known as mad cow disease) and the fact that Japan has been granted 'Negligible' BSE risk status by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the CFS, having completed an audit inspection of enhanced control measures imposed by Japan and being convinced that food safety can be assured, has decided to further lift the import restriction on Japanese beef. The decision has also been endorsed by the Expert Committee on Food Safety," a CFS spokesman said.

     "Following the further relaxation of the import restriction, deboned beef and bone-in beef from cattle of all ages (excluding cuts with vertebral columns from cattle 30 months of age and older), tongue (no tonsils), ox tail and offal (no distal ileum) are allowed to be imported from Japan. Each and every consignment of beef must have the CFS' prior import permission and be accompanied by a health certificate," he added.

     Since 2007, deboned beef from cattle less than 30 months old has been allowed to be imported from Japan.

     "The CFS will continue to closely monitor the information and recommendations issued by the OIE concerning BSE worldwide. Appropriate actions will be taken to safeguard food safety and public health," the spokesman said.

Ends/Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:06