U.S. Demands S. Korea Resume Full Imports Of American Beef

SOUTH KOREA - The United States has officially called for South Korea to lift restrictions and import all parts of American beef in the aftermath of a global animal health body's conclusion that the beef poses a "controlled risk" for mad cow disease, the government said Sunday.
calendar icon 29 May 2007
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The request came only days after U.S. and Canadian beef were unanimously designated "BSE controlled risk" on Tuesday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), a Paris-based organization that sets guidelines for animal health and meat safety. BSE stands for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the scientific name for mad cow disease.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Foreign Ministry received a letter Friday from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting a revision of import conditions in line with the OIE's evaluation result.

"Now that we've received a request from the U.S., we will soon launch a risk assessment process" an Agriculture Ministry official said.

Officials say, however, that the OIE rating is not binding. South Korea can conduct an eight-step import risk analysis process, an importing nation's right granted by the World Trade Organization, before making a decision on a full resumption of beef imports.

Seoul banned American beef in December 2003 after a mad cow case was reported at a U.S. cattle farm. It had reached an agreement with Washington in January 2006 to reopen its market, but only to boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old.

Source: Yonhap News
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