Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Senate bans Japan beef imports amid mad cow row

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.

Massaged with sake?!?

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