No Bone Chips, Dioxin Found In U.S. Beef Imports; Quarantine Service

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea's agricultural quarantine service said Tuesday that it has found neither bone chips nor higher-than-permissible levels of dioxins in beef imported from the United States since late April.
calendar icon 15 May 2007
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After a two-year ban due to mad cow concerns, Seoul resumed imports of only de-boned U.S. beef in January 2006, but three shipments of 22.3 tons were sent back last year when bone chips were found in some packages. South Korea has imported 40 tons of U.S. beef since late last month.

"As of this week, four shipments totaling 20 tons cleared quarantine inspections without a hitch," the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said. Six more shipments, or 20 tons of American beef, are undergoing or awaiting inspections, it said.

The service said it has conducted inspections in line with its automated import information system that aims to follow internationally accepted guidelines while safeguarding health.

Of the total, the first shipment of 6.4 tons arrived on April 23. Three shipments totaling 22.3 tons were all sent back last year because of the discovery of bone fragments in some packages. One contained traces of dioxin, which can damage the human immune system and cause cancer.

Local importers said all shipments have cleared X-ray machine checks for bone fragments and chemical compounds such as dioxins and antibiotics.

The service said more than 100 tons of American beef will arrive by the end of May, given the current pace of imports. Authorities expect around 5,000 tons of U.S. beef to be imported monthly, starting in June.

Source: Yonhap News
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