Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


16 February 2004

Department of Food Safety
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Standards for Foods, Food Additives, etc. under the Japanese Food Sanitation Law
Total Ban on the Food Use of Bovine Vertebral Column from BSE Countries or Zones


On January 16, 2004, Japan revised standards for foods and food additives in order to prohibit the use of the bovine vertebral column as an ingredient of processed foods if it is derived from the cattle originating from a country or zone with the occurrence of BSE (hereinafter the cattle is referred to as the "specific cattle").

In April 2003, the MHLW asked the BSE Committee under the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council to review the risk of bovine vertebral column products to health, in light of the fact that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) amended the International Animal Health Code in 2002. The Japanese revised standards took effect on February 16, 2004. The standards are consistent with the OIE and EU regulations.

Summary of new standards

1. When beef produced from the specific cattle is retailed, the vertebral column must be totally removed from the product.

2. When the vertebral column is removed from meat of the specific cattle, the removal method used must ensure that spinal dorsal root ganglion dose not contaminate the meat, the internal organs for food use, and other meat in the place where removal is conducted during the removal process.

3. Foods, food additives, utensils and containers/packages must not be manufactured, processed, or cooked using the vertebral column of the specific cattle as an ingredient. The ingredient includes extracts, gelatin, and bone oils.

4. Tallow derivatives originating from the vertebral column of the specific cattle may be used as ingredients of foods, food additives, utensils and containers/packages, if these derivatives are produced by hydrolysis, saponification, or transesterification of tallow under the condition of high temperature and high pressure. The tallow derivatives include glycerin, fatty acids, and these esters.

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