Local Beef Consumption not Affected by US BSE

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea's beef consumption has not been affected by the latest bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case in the United States, government data showed Tuesday, although demand for US beef has plummeted.
calendar icon 1 May 2012
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The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said sales of beef at the country's eight largest retailers, including Lottemart, Homeplus and Nonghyup Hanaro Mart, rose 3.3 per cent from last Tuesday through Thursday compared to a week earlier, reports YonhapNewsAgency.

It said sales of beef from domestically raised cattle moved up 3.5 per cent with imports also gaining 4.4 per cent, although demand for US beef plunged 19.8 per cent.

The findings come after South Korea tightened inspections of all US beef packages entering the country after Washington confirmed a case of BSE in California last week. BSE is the official name for the brain-wasting mad cow disease, which can be transmitted to humans and cause the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The latest case involving an old dairy cow is the fourth detected in the United States.

The farm ministry said despite the mad cow case, prices of local cattle were not affected and remained effectively unchanged.

A mature 600 kilogram meat producing cattle traded at 5.66 million won (US$5,015) on Friday, a slight dip from the 5.69 million won reported two days earlier.

The stability in cattle prices marks a contrast from late 2003 when the first US outbreak was reported. At that time, the price of local cattle plunged almost 30 per cent after the announcement was made, to around 3.50 million won.

The ministry said compared to the past, there is now considerable confidence in the market especially after Seoul made it mandatory for butcher stores and restaurants to disclose the country of origin of the meat they sell.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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