Japanese officials have temporarily embargoed beef imports from Swift & Co.'s Greeley, CO, plant. A Japanese agriculture ministry official told the Associated Press that a shipment of thymus glands was received without proper documentation. The shipment reportedly contained products that were not listed on the manifest.
While those glands are eligible for export to Japan, Swift had not been approved to export them. Swift spokesman Sean McHugh told Meatingplace.com that the box was clearly marked, and that the transparency has led to a measured reaction from Japanese officials, who appear to be treating the incident as routine.
USDA was asked by Japanese officials to investigate the incident and report back with measures to prevent a recurrence. An official with the Agriculture Ministry said he was concerned that such a "simple mistake" would be made so soon after Japan resumed imports of U.S. beef.
The package was only one of 760 boxes containing 11 tons of beef and beef tongue. McHugh says the company's other plants are still able to export to Japan and Swift will cooperate fully with U.S. and Japanese officials.
-- Clint Peck