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Beef Notification to Come After Public Explanation

Posted June. 23, 2008 05:56,   


The resumption of U.S. beef imports will come after the people are given a sufficient explanation on the results of additional beef negotiations between Korea and the United States and subsequent actions.

Through the additional negotiations, the government decided to ban the import of U.S. cow brains, eyes, spinal cords and skulls and prevent the de facto import of cow intestines via quarantine inspection.

The government and the ruling Grand National Party yesterday held a working-level meeting. Party spokeswoman Cho Yoon-seon said, “[The government and the party] agreed not to hastily publicize the notification (on the sanitary conditions of bilateral beef trade initially scheduled for today) to allow sufficient time to explain the results of the additional talks and inspection guidelines to the people.”

Party floor leader Hong Joon-pyo also told a news briefing, “Since the people are still worried, quarantine inspections will start when a consensus is reached that (U.S. beef) is not dangerous.”

In addition, a new task force will formulate policies supplementing the results of the additional negotiations. The team will discuss how to secure transparency of beef circulation such as forming a monitoring team comprising citizens and social organizations or establishing a standard for marking the beef’s origin and running a report system.

The government had announced Saturday the results of additional beef negotiations in the presence of Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun and Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon. Both ministers said Washington agreed to suspend beef exports from cattle aged 30 months or older until Korean consumer sentiment improves; guarantee Korea’s authority to carry out inspections on the worksites of exporters and violators; and prevent the export of brains, eyes, spinal cords and skulls from cattle younger than 30 months.

The additional talks failed to reach agreement on the import of intestines from U.S. cattle younger than 30 months. Seoul, however, cited inspection guidelines that each imported pack of cow intestines from cattle younger than 30 months should be melted down for tissue examination and returned to the United States as a whole if pathogenic bacteria is detected.

Over in the United States, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the American Meat Institute and the National Meat Association sent a letter to the Agriculture Department and the U.S. Trade Representative Saturday. The letter said the three groups are prepared to limit to Korea only beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age under a program verified by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

In response to a request made by the U.S. beef industry, the U.S. Trade Representative said that when the Korea-U.S. agreement is enforced, the Agriculture Department will establish an age tracking system.