Producers of US beef can expect to export only 100,000 tonnes of beef to Japan in 2006, according to a senior industry official. The figure would represent only a third of the amount sold to Japan before the ban on US beef in 2003 due to the mad cow scare.

Philip Seng, the head of the US Meat Export Federation, was reported by the Associated Press today (22 December) to have said it will take at least three years before US beef exports reach 2003 levels.

Whilst unveiling a PR campaign to win back Japanese consumers, who are still worried about mad cow disease, he said he hoped next year's figure would be higher than his estimates.