October 31,2005

Baucus Cautiously Welcomes Action To Support End To Japan’s Beef Ban

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, responded to today’s action by Japan’s Food Safety Commission (FSC). An FSC scientific committee today released its draft report that concluded that U.S. and Japanese beef carry a similar risk level of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

“Today’s action is a step in the right direction,” noted Baucus. “It underscores the message that I have repeatedly given to the Japanese government -- U.S. beef is safe to eat.”

Baucus continued: “I expect today’s action to lead to Japan lifting the ban on U.S. beef in the imminent future. With today’s scientific report, there is nothing left for Japan to hide behind. I urge Japan to act fast. My colleagues and I have introduced legislation to impose sanctions if Japan does not.”

Japan’s Food Safety Commission will now begin a four-week public comment period and expects to adopt the final scientific report shortly thereafter.