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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contact: Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #05-047
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SACRAMENTO- Secretary A.G. Kawamura and the California cattle industry are applauding the announcements made by U.S. and Japanese officials regarding the removal of a two-year ban prohibiting the importation of U.S. beef into Japan.

“This is an exciting development for California,” said Secretary Kawamura. “Japan is a major market for California beef and this decision may encourage other markets to follow Japan’s example. Japanese consumers have always appreciated the high quality and safety of U.S. beef, and I’m confident they will return to buying California beef.”

Japan, along with several other nations, banned the importation of American beef with the discovery of a single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States in December 2003.  Prior to the ban, Japan was California’s largest international market for beef, representing an estimated 40 percent of total beef exports, an $85 million dollar market. California beef producers look forward to the opportunity to re-establish that relationship.  

“California produces the safest, highest quality beef in the world,” said California Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice-President Ben Higgins. “We are pleased to be re-entering the Japanese market and recognize that we are in an advantageous position—due to location and supply—to reclaim our previous market share.”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is actively involved in United States BSE surveillance efforts and works to protect the health of all domestic animals from contagious and infectious disease.  Since increased BSE surveillance began in 2004, nearly 550,000 samples for lab testing have been collected from U.S. cattle. Of those, approximately 65-thousand came from California.


Media Contact: Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs
                         (916) 654-0433
                         Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs (916) 654-0462 

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814