Survey: S. Korean Housewifes have no intention to buy US Beef

SOUTH KOREA - More than 70 per cent of South Korean housewives have no intention to buy American beef due to mad cow fears and other negative images, a government-commissioned survey showed Sunday.
calendar icon 8 January 2007
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The survey found that 70.2 per cent of housewives aged 30 to 40 said they "won't buy" or "would not prefer to buy" U.S. beef, compared with 10.6 per cent who answered that they "have an intention to buy" American meat, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said. ADVERTISEMENT

The survey of 1,213 housewives was commissioned by the ministry and conducted by Korea Gallup, the ministry said in a statement.

Asked what image they have of U.S. beef, 35 per cent of the respondents picked mad cow disease. About 10 per cent described their image of U.S. beef as untrustworthy and 7.8 per cent answered poor quality, the survey showed.

Officials at the ministry weren't available on Sunday for comment.

The survey was released at a critical time, as South Korea and the United States were due to hold talks this week to resolve a prolonged row over Seoul's repeated rejection of U.S. beef shipments.

Lifting a three-year import ban prompted by the discovery of a mad cow case in the U.S. in 2003, South Korea resumed U.S. beef imports in September on condition that no bones be contained in the shipments.

South Korea has since turned back three shipments totaling about 22.3 tons after bone fragments were found in the meat. U.S. officials protested that South Korea enforced overly strict quarantine rules to block American beef imports.

Before the 2003 import ban, South Korea was the third-largest U.S. beef market, with annual purchases totaling US$850 million.

U.S. officials have warned that the beef row could spoil ongoing free trade agreement talks between the two countries. The two sides are also scheduled to hold their sixth round of free trade talks next week in Seoul.

Source: Asia Pulse News
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