BOISE -- Idaho officials say a possible change in Japanese import policy concerning beef has the potential to create more income for Idaho beef producers.

Idaho Beef Council Chairman Cevin Jones tells the Idaho Business Review that changes being considered in Japan could drive up the demand for various beef cuts and allow more exports of beef undervalued in the U.S.

Japan since 2005 has allowed into the country only beef from animals that were less than 20 months old when slaughtered to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease.

But in October a Japanese government subcommittee forwarded recommendations altering the restrictions to allow beef from cattle younger than 30 months old.

Jay Theiler of Boise-based Agri Beef Co. says that means more cattle would qualify for export.

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