S. Korea Keeps Tight Checks on US Beef

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea will maintain its tightened quarantine inspections regime on US beef but take no steps to halt imports despite the recent discovery of a mad cow case in the United States, the farm ministry said Friday.
calendar icon 11 May 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said a nine-person inspection team that checked various cattle and meat packing facilities in the United States concluded there is no real human health threat posed by American beef.

Yonhap reports that the livestock quarantine consultation committee that advises the farm minister does not think stopping imports is necessary at this time, it added.

Seoul currently opens half of all US beef packages entering the country to make certain that the contents meet import rules.

Normally only three per cent of shipments are checked.

Earlier this week, the team led by Joo E-suk, head of the animal quarantine office, returned after a 12-day trip to the US.

They visited the US agriculture department, animal laboratories, rendering and packaging facilities and cattle farms.
"US monitoring of sick animals and operation of its feed system meets international standards," the ministry said.

The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) finding in the US has been confirmed as an "atypical" case.

The rare type of BSE may not be passed on to humans and because the animal infected was over 10 years old, South Korea would not have imported the meat from such an animal in the first place.

Under a bilateral deal, Seoul only imports meat from animals under 30 months old.

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