US meat body hosts sustainability awareness in South Korea
USMEF officials in South Korea have hosted animal welfare workshops to promote the fair treatment of animals and land used for the production of American meat.
Travis Arp, USMEF’s manager of technical services, addressed Korean red meat importers, distributors, retail and food service operators, giving insight into the US red meat industry’s approach to animal welfare and land sustainability, which has helped boost production.
Arp highlighted Korean labelling regulations mean that processors cannot label meat depending on livestock conditions: “One of the primary issues in South Korea is tight regulation on the ability of processors to label product as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ or other marketing descriptors that cannot be uniformly defined,” said Arp. “Since labels cannot be used for this purpose in Korea, our goal is to help the importers and buyers in Korea better understand the care that goes into the production of US pork and beef, so they can make their purchasing decisions based on knowledge.”
However, Arp told the Korean audience that Korean labelling was misleading: “Some consumers believe that meat with a ‘speciality label’ is safer than conventionally produced meat, or that meat without an animal welfare label has not been produced with the same care for the animal’s well-being. The reality is that all meat inspected by USDA-FSIS [United States Department of Agriculture - Food Safety and Inspection Service] is held to the same health standards, and all producers and processors are held to the same USDA animal handling standards.”
Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director, said some animal welfare progress had already been made: “Some Korean livestock magazines have begun showing an interest in animal welfare and sustainability issues.
“The messages delivered to these importers and buyers provided a meaningful introduction to these issues, and we expect they will be reported back to a broader audience through these publications.”