A Japanese government subcommittee recommended expanding restrictions in October to accept beef from cattle 30 months or younger, a 10 month increase from the current restrictions.
The subcommittee’s decision would change the restrictions for the first time since 2005 when beef was only accepted from cattle less than 20 months old to protect Japanese consumers from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The eased restrictions would help U.S. cattle producers. Jay Theiler, executive director of Boise-based Agri Beef Co., told the Associated Press waiting an additional 10 months to slaughter cattle would provide more high-quality cuts and cuts that have greater value in Japan.
The suggested extension would allow U.S. beef producers to export cuts with more marbling and ship more cow tongues and livers to Japan which are worth a few pennies per pound in the U.S., but sell for as much as $7.50 per pound in Japan.