Japan suspends wagyu exports

Posted by Josette Dunn on 19th May 2010

A Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture on the southern Island of Kyushu in Japan has caused Japan to suspend exports of its famous wagyu beef.

 The outbreak has spread to over 100 farms, resulting in the slaughter of around 85,000 pigs and cattle, including wagyu breeding stock.

The Japanese government has pledged over $1 billion in assistance to help contain the outbreak and protect the wagyu name.

The Australian Wagyu Association said “It is times like these that we are very thankful for the vigor of our country’s quarantine process. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry has done an excellent job in providing bio-security of the highest level to protect the Australian Beef Industry.

“Whilst feeling extremely sorry for our fellow Wagyu breeders in Japan, presently Australia is totally free of foot and mouth disease (FMD)”.

There has never been a direct import of live Wagyu cattle from Japan to Australia. The last Wagyu genetics to leave Japan were exported to the United States of America in the late nineties.

Due tothe infection of the wagyu seed bulls – 49 of which have been culled – just six bulls are left to continue breeding a species famed for its beef. These bulls have been moved to a safe and isolated location to ensure their survival.

The Japanese government has mobilised the armed forces to stop the outbreak spreading right across Kyushu, the Prime minister Yukio Hatoyama said “I want all levels of government to work together to solve this crisis as soon as possible”.