WASHINGTON (DTN)--The single case of mad cow disease in Japan, the top overseas buyer of United States beef, has hurt beef consumption in that country to such an extent that it may take years before U.S. beef exports fully recover, said the U.S. Meat Export Federation on Nov. 8, Reuters reports.

"It could take two to three years until it totally comes back," said Joel Haggard, the USMEF vice president for Asia, during a teleconference. "That could be accelerated dramatically with the implementation of a sustained campaign directed at consumers to reassure them about U.S. and imported beef."

The Meat Export Federation develops export markets for U.S. beef, pork, and lamb. On Thursday it said U.S. beef exports to Japan, which totaled $1.8 billion last year, could be cut in half because of the drop in consumption following confirmation in September of a single mad cow case there.

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