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Meat Rule to Apply to All Fast Food Chains, Cafeterias

Posted July. 07, 2008 09:01,   


Fast food restaurants and cafeterias from this week must mark the country of origin for the meat they use, with the government to supervise implementation from October after a three-month grace period.

The Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said yesterday that to that end, a revision to the Act on Agricultural Product Management will be officially announced on the government gazette today and tomorrow.

Under the revision, fast food chains and cafeterias at schools, companies, public organizations and hospitals must mark the country of origin for beef, pork and chicken and processed food from the three meats.

Earlier the government made it mandatory for restaurants larger than 100 square meters to mark the country of origin.

The new rule will apply to beef from this week. For pork and chicken, effectuation will start from the end of December.

Those who fake labeling on the country of origin and beef type will face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 30 million won (about 28,571 U.S. dollars).

If restaurants fail to either mark the country of origin or use the proper marking method, they will face fines of up to 10 million won (about 9,500 U.S. dollars) and administrative action, including a shutdown for up to a month.

Restaurants must properly mark not only roasted beef, beef broth, and steamed and fried beef but also beef used in side dishes and soups. For pork and chicken, they must mark roasted and steamed fried meat and meat broth.

The government will continue to supervise restaurants larger than 100 square meters, while giving a three-month grace period to smaller restaurants. A smaller restaurant that intentionally mismarks the country of origin, however, will be prosecuted.

From October through December, some 6,000 supervisors including officials at local autonomous bodies and civic group representatives will monitor restaurants.

Skepticism, however, is growing over the new regulation’s effectiveness since it will apply to 64,000 restaurants nationwide. The monitoring of meat used in soups and side dishes is also a major challenge.

Against this backdrop, the government will focus on monitoring restaurants with reported violations or a history of violations or newly opened restaurants.

A meat shop under the management of U.S. beef importer A-meat said, “We sold about 1,800 kilograms of U.S. beef over the weekend. Starting with the sale of 400 kilograms Tuesday, we’re selling a daily average of 800 to 1,000 kilograms.”