Japan wants trace on beef

30 Jul, 2003 10:00 PM
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JAPANESE opposition parties were pushing for legislation to trace the origins of imported beef.

The proposal, called The Bill Concerning Information Disclosure Related to Quality Assurance of Imported Beef, comes hot on the heels of new traceablity laws for domestic beef in Japan.

The new beef import tracing requirements would have to match Japan's domestic market system using a 10-digit cattle ID number assigned to each animal at birth.

This would be built on to the existing ear tag ID system.

Beef imported without traceability programs would have to be labelled as such.

Meat and Livestock Australia NLIS manager Mick Prendergast said Australia would vigorously oppose a traceability requirement for imported beef into Japan.

"We would see it as an unnecessary barrier," he said.

He said the move appeared to indicate a trend from many of Australia's customers for traceability. NLIS was designed to meet the demand.

"The last thing we want to be told by customers is that they want it overnight," he said.

He said the NLIS system, with its electronic ear tags and central database, would easily pass Japan's domestic market traceability requirements.

He said there had been a big increase in the uptake of NLIS, from 4.5 million to 6.5m in past 12 months, which he said had been influenced by Victoria making the system mandatory.

He estimated it would cost about $400,000 a year to run the MLA database for NLIS.

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