The company at the centre of Japan’s decision to re-impose a ban on US beef imports into the country has said it “regrets” what it has called “a misinterpretation of the export requirements.”

On Friday, Japan once again halted imports of US beef amid fears of mad cow disease after banned cattle spinal material was found in three of 41 boxes of beef shipped by Atlantic Veal & Lamb Inc. The Atlantic Veal meat was not found to be contaminated with mad-cow disease.

“We sincerely regret that we shipped product not approved for export to Japan. Our company shipped this product in response to an order by a Japanese customer,” The Atlantic Veal and Lamb Company said.

“The product we shipped is safe and is widely consumed in the US marketplace. Were this product shipped to San Francisco, there would be no question about its safety. But because we shipped it to Japan, and because it contained bones that are not accepted by the Japanese, we have now been prohibited from exporting to Japan.”
The statement continued: “We are absolutely confident that the product is safe. However, we regret that there was a misinterpretation of the export requirements and an honest mistake involving a very small amount of product that has led to this degree of concern.”

“We will cooperate fully with USDA to provide any information they require to ensure that our company is in fully compliance with all inspection regulations and that our export programs going forward operate in a way that is fully consistent with export requirements.”