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Goat meat connoisseurs feeling BSE pinch

Date Posted: 2002-06-09

One of Okinawan delicacies is goat meat that is eaten especially during hot summer months as it is said to strengthen stamina to better endure the intense heat. Now the Ministry of Health and Welfare is putting a crimp on the habit as it has declared that because of fears of spreading BSE or mad cow disease, it no longer allows the use of goat intestines and spinal cord for human consumption. It is the duty of slaughterhouses to discard these parts of the goat and it is forbidden to sell them to restaurants.

However, many goat meat connoisseurs regard just those parts as the best and say that the ruling is costing them customers. “We have many customers who regularly used to come here to eat soup made of goat intestines and blood, but since we cannot serve them anymore, those customers have disappeared,” a restaurant owner who has served goat dishes over 40 years says. “Eating every part of the goat is a part of Okinawan culture, and no one has ever heard that it would make people sick. It’s rather to the contrary,” he declares. Okinawa Prefecture Health and Environment section is adamant. “These are the new rules and if we discover a restaurant that serves goat intestine dishes, we have to put a stop to that,” an official says.

According to statistics consume currently an average 249 goats in restaurants, a 25 percent decrease from a year ago. That does not include goats that are slaughtered in secret in countryside and eaten in private homes.

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