Japan's government has stopped imports from the JBS Swift & Co. Grand Island, Neb., beef plant after allegedly discovering the inclusion of vertebral column in a shipment.
This material is prohibited by Japanese law to control the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
This marks the 15th confirmed violation by US beef suppliers since Tokyo last resumed imports in July 2006. This decision was made as Japan's Food Safety Commission is reviewing current import rules on US and Canadian beef since Dec. 22.
Currently, Japan only allows beef imports from cattle aged 20 months or younger and excludes parts considered as risky from a food-safety standpoint.
In place since 2005, Japan's rules have resulted in US imports plunging while Australian beef gained market share in Japan's 500,000 ton-a-year imported beef market.
JBS is cooperating fully with the US Department of Agriculture and Japanese authorities in investigating this incorrect shipment.
Source: Japan's Food Safety Commission, JBS Swift & Co.