Now your entire meal is embargoed

We’ve all been hearing so much about how the mad cow disease related beef embargoe is going to damage Japan/US relations so badly that we might as well be going back to the day before Little Boy fell out of the Enola Gay, but according to this article in The Mainichi, there’s actually been another large-scale food embargo going on for some time.

Japan will allow foreign potatoes into the country for the first time, accepting a U.S. proposal to brush or wash off all dirt before shipping, send them in sealed containers, and limit their use to processed potato chip snacks, an official said Wednesday.

Japan decided to accept the proposal after 17 months of deliberations, which included sending a team of experts to the United States from July to August 2005, said Masashi Kaneda of the Plant Protection Quarantine Division at the Agriculture Ministry.

Until now, Japan banned imports of foreign potatoes to keep out potato wart fungus and a potato eelworm, the ministry said.

Potato wart fungus has been eradicated in the United States since 1992, while potato eelworm has been limited to areas in New York state, the ministry said.

If potatoes had been banned until now, why is beef attracting so damn much attention?

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