- TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's
farm ministry said on Saturday that UK tests carried out on a Japanese
cow suspected of having mad cow disease had proved positive.
- This confirmed the first outbreak of the bovine
disease in Asia.
- A ministry spokesman told Reuters that the British
that carried out the tests had informed Tokyo of the positive result a
few hours earlier.
- In a separate development, a farm in the Yamagata area
north of Tokyo had been found to have given cattle meat-based feed that
had originally been meant for poultry, the spokesman added.
- Preliminary tests for mad cow disease on a five-year-old
Holstein dairy cow at a farm in Chiba, bordering Tokyo, proved positive
on September 10.
- By last Wednesday the farm ministry had asked farmers
not to ship cattle over 30 months old to slaughterhouses until a system
to check for mad cow disease, or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy),
was in place.
- The move, designed to soothe consumer concerns over food
safety, was expected to further disrupt a meat market facing a sharp fall
in retail demand following widespread news coverage of the BSE
- A meat industry expert said earlier this week that
beef sales, including imported beef, had fallen by about 20% in some
- BSE has been linked to a deadly human version of the
disorder that has so far killed over 100 people in Europe.
- The government on Tuesday banned the use of meat-based
feed products for cattle. BSE is believed to be transmitted to animals
via infected feed.
- Since last week's discovery, the farm ministry has been
investigating domestic plants producing compound feed for cattle to see
if they are using meat-based ingredients, while some 5,800 animal health
experts have been deployed to check 4.5 million cows nationwide.
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