More absurdity over Beef.

From the Washington post, Link withheld due to mandatory subscription silliness.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted twice on Tuesday to keep shipments of Japan’s Kobe beef out of the United States until Tokyo ends its ban on American beef, imposed 19 months ago as a precaution against mad cow disease.

Senators said the votes were a signal of frustration with Japan, traditionally the No. 1 customer for U.S. beef exports. The U.S. cattle industry says it loses $100 million each month the market is closed.

“It’s just unfair,” said Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, decrying the continued ban as unjustified dawdling. “It is time to move beyond soft talk to harder talk.”

A delicacy, Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cattle massaged with sake and fed a diet enriched with beer. Japan shipped $800,000 of the beef annually to U.S buyers before the ban.

Japan says the ban on American beef is in the hands of an independent food safety commission.


I seem to remember an article that stated there was a company in the US that was trying to do 100% testing as required by the independent safety commission in japan. Somehow the US Dept of Agriculture said no to this request and refused to let them test their cattle.

How they did this I have no idea. One possibility is that all of the testing labs are US Government owned and operated. This would lead me to believe that it is once again confirmed to be a bad idea to let the government get a monopoly on any (ANY!) infrastructure in the country no matter how trivial it may seem.

The stupidity is bipartisan, as both Democrats and Republicans are pushing this. Insane…

UPDATE:

I tracked down some information on the article from last year about voluntary testing. This is definitely an example of the government having way, WAY too much power for their own good.

UPDATE 2:
It looks like Japan has eased the restrictions even more, so only cattle older than 21 months will be required to be screened. This makes it even easier for US farmers to setup private labs to screen cattle if the government would just get the heck out of the way.