Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are related disorders. They belong to the family of diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).
Japan had been the largest export market for US beef, valued at $1.2 billion in 2003. In December 2005, Japan agreed to remove the restriction on importing US beef. However, in January imports stopped again because inspectors found banned cattle parts in a veal shipment from the U.S.