Effective Feb. 1, Japan will be easing its requirements for imports of U.S. beef. The country will begin allowing imports of beef from animals under 30 months of age for most cuts of meat. That is up from 20 months of age at present.
After bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in the U.S. in December 2003, Japan restricted imports of beef to animals under 20 months of age. Despite that restriction, Japan is the second-largest market for U.S. beef in terms of value and third-largest market in terms of volume. U.S. beef exports to Japan last year totaled about $1 billion.
The move, part of a broader loosening of requirements, holds promise for growth in U.S. beef exports to the country.