According to a document released by Japan's Agriculture Ministry today (20 March) the US Government has restated its belief that the shipment of beef containing prohibited cuts of meat, which resulted in the reinstatement of a Japanese ban on US beef, was a one-off incident.

According to Associated Press reports, the US Department of Agriculture sent a document to the Japanese Government addressing the issue. It explained why Brooklyn-based Atlantic Veal & Lamb sent a shipment of veal containing backbone, concluding that the mistake was an isolated error that was not indicative of flaws in US food safety procedures.

It remains to be seen whether the report will allay Japanese concerns surrounding the safety of US beef, especially with critics pointing to a similar incident when Swift Beef Co included banned bones in a shipment to Hong Kong.

Japan first banned imports of US beef in December 2003 after the discovery of mad cow disease in the US. The ban was eased last December, only to be reintroduced less than one-month later when prohibited meat found its way to Japan.