Dioxins Discovered in US Beef Shipment To South Korea

KOREA - On 21 December 2006, South Korea’s national quarantine service announced the discovery of toxic dioxin in US beef. It was indicated that the toxin was found in the 10.2 tonne shipment which arrived on 1 December, which had already been rejected for containing banned bone fragments.
calendar icon 11 January 2007
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The discovery of dioxins will put further pressure on the free trade agreement negotiations between Korea and the US, with US officials viewing the findings as another barrier to US beef entering the market.

The discovery has caused scepticism amongst US officials and the US beef industry. The USDA claims the findings are very unusual and inconsistent with the level of dioxin found in samples during similar tests performed in the US. The US has filed a formal request for information with Korean officials to determine how testing was performed and the type of dioxin discovered. South Korea’s quarantine service has said the dioxin level was 6.26 picograms, which exceeds the 5 picogram limit established by Seoul.

There has been little progress in resolving import requirement issues in regard to bone chips in US beef imports. The Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry announced this week that the US government will not attend the technical consultation talks on US beef imports, scheduled for 8 and 9 January in Korea. The US government did not give any reason for its absence nor did it set a new date for the talks.

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