[North Dakota] Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson is urging the federal government to rethink its strategy for regaining the market for U.S. beef in Japan.
"I have asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to let U.S. packers voluntarily test all beef they export to Japan for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)," Johnson said Friday. "Our best hope for regaining our beef markets in Japan is to give the customers what they want."
Johnson said U.S. policy has failed because USDA has treated the matter as a public health issue, not a marketing issue.
"USDA's approach of continually browbeating the Japanese government into taking a product which is viewed with suspicion by the Japanese consumers has now resulted in even further erosion of Japanese consumer confidence in U.S. beef," Johnson told Johanns. "Let's give our customers what they want. That has always been the key to success in any business."