Ministry asks schools to take beef products off lunch menu

October 7, 2001 The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo)
In a hurried response to a government directive on beef products, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry requested prefectural boards of education Friday not to distribute school meals that contain specified cattle parts unless there is solid proof that consumers will not catch the human form of mad cow disease from them.

The request was made on the heels of a directive issued the same day by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to food manufactures via prefectural governments to stop processing the cattle parts, while asking them to recall suspect processed food. The four body parts are the brain, eyeballs, bone marrow and the tip of the small intestine of cattle from countries infected with the disease, including Japan.

The request may lead to a virtual ban on beef extracts and all related food products from school meals because of the difficulty in determining the presence of the specified cattle parts.

Having explained that, under the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry directive, all manufacturers are required to freeze the sale of or recall processed food if they are found to contain the parts or their safety is not proven, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry asked the boards of education to strongly advise municipalities and schools not to use such food products.

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