The Tyson plant in Denison will undergo a re-inspection by Japanese trade officials as part of an agreement this week to resume that nation’s imports of U.S. beef. Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson says the agreement also includes future unannounced audits of approved plants by Japanese and U.S. inspectors.

Mickelson says they’ll visit the plants to make sure the U.S. inspection system is sufficient, and will meet the requirements they’ve set forth. In 2003, about three-point-six-percent of the beef produced in the U.S., or some one-point-four billion dollars worth of beef, was sold to Japanese customers. One case of Mad Cow in a U.S. animal led Japan and some other export partners to halt their purchases.

Mickelson says the packers look forward to doing business with Japan again, and hope this week’s agreement will also boost efforts to open Korean markets to U.S. beef. After a brief resumption early this year, the exports abruptly halted once again after spinal tissue was found in a box of beef sent to Japan, a violation of one of the rules they’d set up. Mickelson says it was a plant out east that made the costly goof, not one here in the Midwest.