DVM. PhD. ( FAMIC )
In Japan, the first BSE-affected cow was found in September 2001. As of January 2009, 36 cows affected with BSE have been identified in Japan. Regarding the route of BSE transmission, it has been suggested that transmission is possibly mediated by ingestion of contaminated meat-and-bone meals, contamination by animal oil/fat or cross-contamination.
As of 2009, the following three measures have been primarily taken in Japan to deal with BSE.
- Slaughter houses: Checking for BSE in all cows aged over 21 month-old planned to be consumed as meat, elimination of some particular sites (spinal cord, distal segment of ileum, etc.) and combustion of BSE positive cows;
- Farms: Obligatory reporting system on cows dying at age over 24 month-old, checking for BSE in cows suspected of having BSE, and combustion of sacrificed cows;
- Reinforced regulation on feeds: Prohibition of the manufacture, distribution, and use of meat-and-bone meals, blocking the route of BSE transmission through restriction on feed supply, ensuring the safety and improving the quality of feeds through an obligatory reporting system on importation and distribution of feeds.
Within these regulatory frameworks, FAMIC has been conducting the spot-inspection of feed plants, importers and distributors to confirm that the manufacture and distribution of feeds are carried out in accordance with the regulations, and that the production line of feeds for ruminants is appropriately separated from that of feeds for the other non-ruminant animals at feed plants.
In addition, to confirm that contamination by prohibited meat-and-bone meals is absent, the feeds are analyzed as to animal-derived proteins.
Analysis of feeds are carried out on compound feeds and the raw materials for feeds (meat-and-bone meals, fish meals, etc.).
Methods used for this analysis are: (1) microscopy (direct detection of meat-and-bone meals), (2) ELISA analysis for the detection of animal-derived protein using commercially kit, and (3) PCR analysis for the detection of animal-derived DNA.
Because the check of feeds covers a diverse range of objects and because ELISA kit cannot be applied to all objects, a judgment is made based on a general assessment of the results from 3 methods of analysis. If contamination by meat-and-bone meals is judged to be positive, inspection is made as to the status of raw material arrangement, the production process and so on. By identifying the case, we give appropriate guidance and instructions for preventing ingestion of contaminated feeds by cattle.
MAFF is endeavouring to return to a BSE-free country through these anti-BSE measures. On this occasion, I will present the current status of anti-BSE measures in Japan as well as the approaches taken by FAMIC in securing the safety of feeds.