"Beef Party" Held To Boost Japanese Consumer Confidence

Following the first confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease in Japan last month, Japan's meat industry has launched a campaign to reassure Japanese consumers of the safety of Japanese beef. Over 100 politicians were invited to a "beef party" to eat Japanese produced beef. The BBC reports that Japan's Consumers' Union called the event "laughable," and said, "They are mocking consumers." Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi criticized the BSE investigation as "sloppy." The Guardian Unlimited reports that the Japanese public is very suspicious of the government's ability to handle a BSE crisis. The carcass of the first BSE infected dairy cow was reported initially to have been incinerated, but later it was revealed that the cow had been ground into animal feed.