Japan halted beef imports from a JBS Swift plant in Grand Island, Neb., after finding material prohibited under rules to control the risk of mad cow disease, the government said on Wednesday.

apan, which has tightened regulations on beef imports following the outbreak of mad cow disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, currently allows imports of beef only from cattle aged 20 months or younger and excludes parts considered as risky. The country's Food Safety Commission is scheduled to start reviewing those import rules, Reuters reports. The Commission could decide to raise the age limit.

The inclusion of vertebral column in a cargo checked on Dec. 19 resulted in Japan's halting of beef imports from the facility. A health ministry official said he did not think this latest case would have any impact on the upcoming review.

"The fact that the prohibited part was found in a package without proper documents suggests the supplier may not have intended to ship it to Japan," the official said.

Source: Reuters