The Japanese Government yesterday (24 January) confirmed that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been discovered in Hokkaido, northern Japan. Officials announced that a 64-month-old Holstein cow that died last week was infected with the disease, Japanese reports state.

The Agriculture Ministry said that the carcass would be destroyed, reassuring consumers that it had not entered the food chain.

The news comes just days after Japan reintroduced a ban on imports of beef form the US after prohibited spinal material, believed to present a higher risk of carrying BSE, was discovered in a shipment of US beef.