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Law to require eateries to state nat`l origin of beef

Posted March. 25, 2001 18:27,   


A new law proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry would require restaurants to publicly identify whether the beef they serve was locally produced or imported.

Noh Kyung-Sang, director of the ministry`s livestock bureau, said Sunday that the initiative was aimed at heading off public fears of mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks and boosting beef consumption. He said it was not decided whether identification would be generic (domestic vs foreign) or specific (the U.S., Australia, etc). Details of the legal requirements and penalties for violations would be set in accordance with the Consumer Protection Law and its enforcement decrees.

An article under the proposed law provides that identification standards should be prescribed to minimize the chance that consumers would make uneducated choices on account of misleading packaging or labeling.

Last year the World Trade Organization (WTO) told the Korean government that distinguishing between local products and imports in selling meat at butcher shops breached WTO regulations. The official said that displaying the place of origin of beef served at restaurants does not constitute a violation.

Sin Yeon-Su ysshin@donga.com