South Korea delays resumption of US beef imports

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beef

South Korea said yesterday that it will delay resumption of US beef
imports, after finding problems at US meat processing facilities,
reported Yonhap news.

US beef had been expected to reach shelves again later this month, after a ban of almost three years since mad cow disease affected US herds.

But the report said that Korean officials inspecting almost 40 meat processing facilities in the US last month had identified procedures that needed to be improved upon before the country lifted its import ban.

These included issues of some facilities butchering foreign beef along with US-raised beef, and a few plants that had only one line to process animals.

This might make it hard to determine if the meat is from cattle older or younger than 30 months old. South Korea wants to import only boneless meat from cattle younger than 30 months old, born after the US took measures to protect against BSE, and therefore considered safer.

"In the United States, such procedures are not seen as problems, but we feel these issues need to be addressed before any imports take place,''​ Park Hyun-chool, head of the ministry's livestock bureau, told the news agency.

He added that while not all meat processing facilities had the same problems, Seoul wanted all the issues resolved before giving authorization.

South Korea plans to exchange views and information with the US and predicts that appropriate measures could be worked out within a month if all sides agree on the actions needed.

South Korea currently only allows beef imports from Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Korea was previously the third-largest market for US beef.

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