Japan has finally agreed to lift the last remaining restrictions on beef imported from France, nearly 20 years after they were imposed due to concern over Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) , commonly called mad cow disease..
From 1996, Japan banned beef imports from Britain over an outbreak of BSE, later extending the ban to all EU-produced beef products in 2000.
As governments began to control the disease, Japan has selectively reopened to some exporters, including France, which has since 2013 been able to sell meat from cattle aged up to 30 months.
“A final round of negotiations has just resulted in the complete lifting of the Japanese embargo,” France’s foreign and agriculture ministries said in a joint statement.
“This result offers new commercial opportunities for the French cattle industry. It can now export meat to Japan without any age limit, including minced meat.”
France is Europe’s largest beef producer.
Last year, the Japanese embassy in France said Tokyo had imported beef worth under two million euros from France in 2018, in a market dominated by Australia and the United States.