Questions over BSE in Japan have been raised after it emerged that nearly 1,000 tonnes of bovine offal and meat bone were imported into the country from the UK between 1988-1990. At this time, the UK was experiencing a large mad cow outbreak and while the material was intended for pet food and livestock feed, scientists are still unclear as to the risks of consuming such meat.

There is a chance that if the meat in the feed was contaminated, consumers eating the Japanese livestock could still contract vCJD, the brain-wasting human equivalent to BSE. To date, there have been around 90 UK sufferers of the disease.

UK exports of offal and bonemeal continued to reach Japan until the European Commission instituted a ban in 1996. No data for exports prior to 1998 has yet been disclosed.