Tsutomu Takebe, Japanese Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, admitted last Sunday that he is still not sure whether all meat and bone meal animal feed would be banned.

Following the confirmation of the first case of BSE in the country on 10 September, in a cow bred on a farm on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, many have called for a complete ban on MBM because it is generally thought to cause the spread of the disease.

According to the Kyodo News, Takebe told a news conference that MBM produced within Japan would not be banned because an international organization, which he did not name, says there is no risk of further infection in using it to feed pigs and chickens.

He added that, “a nationwide investigation is now underway” into the use of MBM on farms.

Across 14 prefectures meanwhile, at least 1,765 schools have banned beef from their lunchtime menus, in response to rising fears over the spread of BSE and its related human disease vCJD.