A possible change in Japanese import policy concerning beef has the potential to create more income for Idaho beef producers, officials in Idaho say.

Since 2005, Japan has allowed into the country only beef from animals that were less than 20 months old when slaughtered to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). But in October a Japanese government subcommittee forwarded recommendations altering the restrictions to allow beef from cattle younger than 30 months old.

Jay Theiler, executive director of Boise-based Agri-Beef, Co., says the additional 10 months for growing beef would create more opportunities for selling high-quality cuts as well as the cuts that have greater value in Japan.

"What it does is a lot more cattle will qualify for export, because there is a lot less cattle that are available at that young of age," Theiler says.

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