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U.S. Beef Imports to Resume

Posted May. 29, 2008 08:59,   


The government is to announce the terms for resuming U.S. beef imports. The notification will be issued in the name of Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun either Thursday or Friday.

A high-ranking government official said Wednesday, “We decided to make public the procrastinated announcement of new conditions for U.S. beef imports by no later than Friday. This is because there is no need for a further delay given that a special inspection team, which returned from the United States where it conducted on-site inspections of local slaughtering facilities, found no problems in sanitary conditions at meat processing plants.” The source added, “I believe that the government did its best before making the announcement for resuming U.S. beef imports. Any further postponement will not change anything.”

The notification will take effect within two or three days after the minister of agriculture, fishery and food requests to the minister of government administration and home affairs an official announcement. That will signal the full-fledged resumption of U.S. beef inspection since the suspension of last October.

The government also plans to strengthen quarantine on U.S. beef imports and fortify safety management and prevention systems in an attempt to allay public concerns of a possible mad cow disease outbreak in Korean beef cattle.

The Agriculture Ministry decided to ban slaughtering cattle if they are found not to have injuries or side-effects from hard labor among "downer" cattle, animals too sick to walk on their own. In addition, the ministry also plans to prevent any possible mad cow disease outbreak stemming from cross contamination by prohibiting animal feed from being used as feed for Korean beef cattle.

The current law prohibits the use of the proteins of ruminants such as cows as feed for the same types of animals. However, there is no such prohibition against pork being utilized as cattle feed.

An official from the Agriculture Ministry said, “We haven’t found any cases involving animal proteins being used as cattle feed at home, but as a preventive measure, the government decided to establish a law banning their use.”

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