US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has reportedly said that an expanded surveillance programme to determine the extent of BSE infection among the country’s cows is nearing completion.

Johanns told reporters that “surveillance is pretty close to be wrapped up,” and the US will hold consultations with trading partners before ending the programme, reported the Jiji press.

According to the reports, surveillance and other safety steps are of particular concern for Japan, which reinstated a previously lifted ban in January, after high risk parts were found in a veal shipment from a New York meat processor.