News Update
Feb. 21, 2006


Japan Wary of U.S. Beef, Despite USDA Report

Japanese officials yesterday gave no indication of trade resumption after receiving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report explaining the Jan. 20 shipment of banned beef materials.

According to The Associated Press, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called the 475-page report “insufficient,” stating that a quick resumption of U.S. beef imports is unlikely. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe reported that the Japanese government was still examining the USDA report. Abe added that officials there could have some questions for the agency following a careful reading of the report.

“If, after all that, the U.S. can convince us that preventive measures will be firmly taken from the perspective of food safety and security, then we will resume the imports at that point,” Abe stated in the AP article.

The Japan Times reported that it could be several days before Japanese officials finalize their response to the report.


Bill Proposes More USDA Authority

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill last week that would give USDA the authority to enforce laws against unfair price manipulation in livestock markets, according to Agriculture Online.

Referred to as The Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act of 2006, the bill was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.). The bill, if passed, would strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act and define unfair pricing practices, the article noted. The bill would create a special counsel to investigate complaints of unfair pricing, and it also would ban deceptive practices by companies that contract with producers for farm commodities.

According to, the bill was created in response to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) criticizing USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) for its “lax supervision” of the livestock industry.


— by Crystal Albers, associate editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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