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Grading, Certification, and Verification
 
LS GVD Questions and Answers - EV Japan  
Q1: What are the specified product requirements for Japan?

 
A: Specified product requirements are the constraints or qualities that define the product. The specified product requirements for export to Japan are included in the EV Program for Japan (GVD 1030J Procedure). The requirements include age verification (20 months of age or younger) and removal of designated specified risk materials (SRMs). These requirements are required to be met through a USDA QSA Program. (They may also be met through a USDA Process Verified Program.)

 
Q2: What is the USDA Quality System Assessment (QSA) Program?

 
A: The QSA Program sets forth the documented quality management system requirements that a company must develop, implement, and maintain to ensure product meets specified product requirements. The specified product requirements for the EV Program for Japan must be met through a QSA Program. The QSA Program requirements are outlined in GVD 1002 Procedure.

 
Q3: Is the EV Program for Japan a voluntary program?

 
A: Yes, it is a voluntary program. However, in order to export beef to Japan, companies must have an approved EV Program for Japan.

 
Q4: If a company has an approved USDA PVP or QSA Program based on the EV Program for Japan, what must the company do now that the requirements are finalized?

 
A: Companies are required to meet all Program requirements. A company with an approved EV Program for Japan is required to revise its program to meet the requirements outlined in the following documents:
a. GVD 1030J Procedure, USDA Beef Export Verification for Japan;
b. Use of Cattle Legally Imported into the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Third Free Countries;
c. Clarification of Product Requirements;
d. EV Program Additional Requirements;
e. QSA/PVP Live Animal Production Requirements;
f. Product Lists; and
g. All significant changes must be submitted to the GVD Audit Services for review and approval prior to implementation. (See the significant changes section of this document for further information on what constitutes a significant change.)

 
Q5: How do I determine what products are eligible for export to Japan?

 
A: FSIS provides a listing of what product categories are eligible for export at the specific countries page on the FSIS Export Library.

 
Q6: How do I determine what product an approved supplier can export to Japan?

 
A: Product produced from cattle slaughtered on or after the company's approval date is eligible for export to Japan. The company's approval date is listed on the Official Listing of Eligible Suppliers to the EV Program for Japan as "Date of Approval for Shipment to Japan." You must contact the supplier to determine if they produce the product you want to export.

 
Q7: Does the EV Program for Japan require source verification?

 
A: No. However, the source of the cattle must be known to verify that cattle are 20 months of age or less (age verification) at the time of slaughter. Producers must have valid production records. Companies may include source verification as a specified product requirement within their programs.

 
Q8: Is animal identification a requirement for the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, this is defined in GVD 1030J Procedure. Cattle presented for individual age verification must also have individual animal identification. Cattle presented for group age verification must have unique group identification or a unique individual identification that is associated to the group.

 
Q9: How are age verified cattle determined to be 20 months of age or less at the time of slaughter?

 
A: Age verified cattle must have live animal production records that verify the animal is 20 months of age or younger at the time of slaughter. For example: cattle slaughtered on December 12 must be born on or after March 13, 2004 to qualify for use in the EV Program for Japan.

 
Q10: Who may have an approved EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Any supplier of cattle or beef, including packers, fabricators, cold storage facilities, forwarding warehouses, feedlots, producers, cooperatives, auction markets, or buyers.

 
Q11: What is conforming product under the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: (1) Cattle that are in the program and can be verified with documentation as meeting the requirements of the EV Program for Japan; and (2) beef that is produced under the program and can be verified with documentation as meeting the requirements of the EV Program for Japan.

 
Q12: What is non-conforming product under the EV for Japan Program?

 
A: (1) Cattle that do not meet, or can not be verified as meeting, the requirements of the EV for Japan Program; and (2) beef that does not meet, or can not be verified as meeting, the requirements of the EV for Japan Program.

 
Q13: Does veal have to be produced under an EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, veal must meet the requirements of the EV Program for Japan. Veal facilities, including dedicated facilities, must have an approved EV Program for Japan.

 
Q14. Do all cattle received for use in the EV Program for Japan need to be verified for age?

 
A: Yes, cattle enrolled in the EV Program for Japan must be verified for age. Cattle must be traceable to live animal production records for individual age verification or group age verification. Cattle that are not traceable to live animal production records must be age verified through carcass evaluation.

 
Q15: Are cattle legally imported into the US from Canada, Mexico, and other Third Free Countries eligible for use in the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, but the cattle must meet specific requirements which are outlined in the FSIS Animal Health Requirements. Packers must review the FSIS Animal Health Requirements and the GV Division guidance on the use of legally imported cattle. Packers must address the specific requirements in their documented programs to ensure the requirements are met.

 
Q16: What are the responsibilities of a feedyard if it receives legally imported cattle from Canada?

 
A: The feedyard must follow APHIS requirements. The feedyard must identify within the scope of its documented program that legally imported cattle are received from Canada and are handled in accordance with APHIS requirements.

 
Q17: Does AMS recognize Canadian cattle that are age verified through CCIA to meet the EV Japan program?

 
A: Yes, AMS considers cattle imported from Canada to meet the EV Japan program, so long as the cattle are identified and accompanied with official CCIA documentation that provides a listing of EID numbers with associated birthdates (estimated birthdates are not acceptable).

 
Q18: Where can I source animals to use in my EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Cattle can be received as meeting the age verification requirements from 4 sources:
a. An approved USDA PVP that includes age verification as a requirement. Approved sources are maintained on the official listing for the USDA PVP.
b. An approved USDA QSA Program that includes age verification as a requirement. Approved sources are maintained on the official listings for the USDA QSA Program.
c. Suppliers of an approved EV Program for Japan Program. Approved suppliers are maintained by the company on the company's approved suppliers list.
d. Cattle legally imported from Canada, Mexico, and other Third Free Countries that meet the requirements outlined in the FSIS Animal Health Requirements.

 
Q19: What options are available to approve cattle suppliers under an EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Companies have multiple options, depending on their business practices. The following are a few options.

 
A packer may develop a program in which the packer:
a. Evaluates all suppliers to ensure that cattle meet the specified product requirements;
b. Evaluates a feed yard and the feed yard evaluates its suppliers of cattle;
c. Allows veterinarians or other approved evaluators to conduct evaluations on suppliers of cattle;
d. Evaluates a calf yard and the calf yard evaluates its suppliers of calves; or
e. Evaluates an auction market and the auction market evaluates its suppliers of cattle.

 
An auction market may develop a program in which the auction market:
a. Evaluates its suppliers of cattle, or
b. Allows veterinarians or other approved evaluators to conduct evaluations on suppliers of cattle.

 
A feed yard may develop a program in which the feed yard:
a. Evaluates its suppliers of cattle;
b. Allows buyer to conduct evaluations on suppliers of cattle; or
c. Allows veterinarians or other approved evaluators to conduct evaluations on suppliers of cattle.

 
Regardless of how the EV Program for Japan is developed, the company with the approved Program must ensure that all requirements of the EV Program for Japan are met throughout the entire process. AMS ensures that USDA approved sources meet Program requirements.

 
Q20: What is an "umbrella" EV Program for Japan?

 
A: It is a program that is controlled by one company but involves other suppliers of cattle. An "umbrella" EV Program for Japan addresses all requirements for the entire supply chain within the scope of the program. The company with the EV Program for Japan is responsible for developing and maintaining the program and for ensuring that the requirements are met throughout the entire supply chain.

 
Q21: Under an "umbrella" EV Program for Japan, if the company approves locations and each location approves its own suppliers, then must the company maintain the approved suppliers listing for each location?

 
A: No. Each location may maintain its own approved suppliers listing. However, the company's management representative must have access to each of the listings. Additionally, the company must have procedures in place to ensure that unapproved and suspended producers do not supply to any locations within the umbrella program.

 
Q22: What documentation is required to supply cattle under an "umbrella" EV Program for Japan?

 
A: A supplier of cattle must have documentation in accordance with the requirements included in the company's EV Program for Japan. Documentation must be sufficient for the company to verify the specified product requirements. Documentation may include existing procedures, forms, and records such as standard operating procedures, health records, feed records, shipping records, purchase records, documentation for identification of animals, and/or breeding methods and seasons.

 
Q23: What options are available to supply cattle to an EV Program for Japan?

 
A: A supplier of cattle has many options to qualify his/her cattle for the EV Program for Japan:
a. Have his/her own approved EV Program for Japan, which allows the supplier to send cattle to any approved EV Program for Japan;
b. Participate in an "umbrella" EV Program for Japan, which allows the supplier to supply cattle to the company under which he/she is approved;
c. Enroll cattle into one of the approved QSA Programs for age verification as listed at the QSA Program; or
d. Enroll cattle into one of the approved Process Verified Programs for age verification as listed at http://processverified.usda.gov/.

 
Q24: Do cattle have to be approved under an EV Program for Japan to qualify for export?

 
A: Yes, cattle must be approved under an EV Program for Japan to qualify for export. Cattle can not qualify through the use of a signed affidavit alone. Cattle that are not age verified may be selected through carcass evaluation by trained USDA AMS graders for a physiological maturity of A40 or younger.

 
Q25: What does age verification through carcass evaluation mean?

 
A: Cattle of unknown age are eligible for export to Japan through carcass evaluation. Carcasses must be of A40 physiological maturity of younger as defined by the Official US Standards for Grades of Beef. The evaluation is conducted by trained USDA AMS graders.

 
Q26: What is A40?

 
A: A40 is a measure of skeletal maturity. A40 is the age measurement that has been determined to exclude animals older than 20 months of age.

 
Q27: Can cattle be accepted into an EV Program for Japan through the use of a signed affidavit?

 
A: No, cattle must be approved under an EV Program for Japan. Cattle must be approved either through an approved USDA PVP or QSA Program that includes age verification as a requirement. These Programs require supplier evaluations.

 
Q28: Are cattle under a domestic age & source verification program eligible for use in the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Cattle under a domestic age & source verification program are not automatically eligible for use in the Program. The suppliers must be approved under an EV Program for Japan to verify that the cattle meet the Program requirements.

 
Q29: Are suppliers of cattle under an "umbrella" EV Program for Japan audited by USDA, AMS?

 
A: Yes. USDA may conduct audits of suppliers of cattle while auditing the company's EV Program for Japan to ensure Program requirements are met.

 
Q30: What are the benefits of having your own approved EV Program for Japan?

 
A: It provides the opportunity to assure customers that your cattle meet specified product requirements outlined in the EV Program for Japan.

 
Q31: What are the options for developing an EV Program for Japan where the packer owns and/or controls the feed yards?

 
A: Packers maintain a separate Quality Manual that outlines the feed yard's activities. The feed yard is treated as a supplier of cattle and supplier evaluations are performed on the feed yard.

 
Q32: Can Program compliant ear tags (PCT) be used in a USDA PVP or QSA Program for the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, Program compliant ear tags may be used. Please refer to the questions and answers relating to Program compliant ear tags.

 
Q33: Can multiple groups of age verified cattle be commingled, even if their birthdates are different?

 
A: Yes. Multiple groups of age verified cattle may be commingled; however,
a. To maintain individual group birthdates, all cattle within each group must have the unique group identification. Cattle must be traceable to the farm of birth, or
b. If all cattle within the multiple groups are given the same age, then the oldest age of all the groups must be used. All cattle within the group must have the unique group identification. Cattle must be traceable to a group of farms, one of which they came from.

 
Q34: Does the EV Program for Japan require a documented "segregation plan?"

 
A: No. However, there must be a documented procedure that defines:
a. The identification of non-conforming product (live cattle and/or beef);
b. The controls used to ensure the segregation of non-conforming product to prevent their unintended use or delivery; and
c. The related responsibilities and authorities for ensuring the segregation and disposition of non-conforming product.

 
Q35: Can conforming and non-conforming cattle be shipped on the same truck?

 
A: Yes. However, there must be controls to ensure the segregation of the non-conforming cattle to prevent their unintended use or delivery. There must be records to show evidence of these controls. For example: cattle are segregated on the truck in the individual compartments and the shipping documentation clearly identifies the number and location of the conforming and non-conforming cattle on that truck.

 
Q36: Must a company declare products that are received from other establishments, even if the products will not be included in an EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes. ALL cattle and beef received from other establishments must be identified in the EV Program for Japan. This product can be handled by either (1) excluding the product from the scope of the program; or (2) having an appropriate receiving procedure to ensure that products are handled according to the EV Program for Japan requirements and are not included in the program.

 
Q37: Who may conduct the internal audits for a company's EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Companies must identify the internal auditors. The selection of auditors must ensure objectivity and impartiality of the audit process. Auditors must not audit their own work.

 
Q38: Can a dairy calf ranch participate in the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, a dairy calf ranch can either develop its own USDA PVP or QSA Program to address the age requirements for the EV Program for Japan. Or a dairy calf ranch can be approved as a supplier under an approved USDA PVP or QSA Program.

 
Q39: Are there minimum requirements that a Feed Yards, Backgrounders, Stockers, Dairy Calf Ranches, and Auction Markets must complete to participate in the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes, refer to GVD Guidance #GU7309CCA posted at: http://processverified.usda.gov.

 
Q40: If a producer is an approved supplier under an EV Program for Japan, are calves purchased by this producer eligible for use in the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Calves must be from approved suppliers to be eligible for use in the EV Program for Japan. Calves that are not from approved suppliers are not eligible for use in the EV Program for Japan. Non-conforming calves must be identified and controlled to prevent their use or delivery within the Program.

 
Q41: Is it necessary for all establishments represented on the FSIS Export Certificate to be listed on the Official Listing of Eligible Suppliers to the EV Program for Japan?

 
A: Yes. To export product to Japan, all establishments represented on the FSIS Export must be listed as eligible suppliers on the Official Listing.

 
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  Last Modified Date: 08/08/2012