Beef distributed before the launch of a Japanese inspection system for BSE last autumn may have reached the shelves, Agriculture Minister Tsutomu Takebe admitted today [Monday]. The inspection system was launched on 18 October last year. Beef that was not inspected is bought up by the government, but only on request, so it is possible that untested beef went on sale. Takebe told parliament that there is no guarantee that no un-inspected beef was distributed, although he believed any untested beef that reached retailers was safe.