Korea Expected to Revise Rules on U.S. Beef Imports

SOUTH KOREA - Korea will ease rules against bone-in beef imported from the United States., but will push to keep the current specified risk material (SRM) and age restrictions on animals butchered for the Korean market, government sources were quoted as saying Tuesday by Yonhap News Agency.
calendar icon 12 September 2007
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The position comes after nine government policymakers and civilian experts held a livestock quarantine consultation committee to exchange views on rewriting the country's import guidelines.

Korea and the U.S. agreed to lift a blanket ban in January 2006, but Seoul allowed only boneless beef from animals under 30 month old to be imported. SRMs -- including the brain, skull, vertebra, and certain internal organs -- are banned under the current deal because of local concerns that they may transmit mad cow disease to humans.

"There is consensus that Korea cannot accept U.S. requests to lift all restrictions," said a government source, who declined to be identified. He said that past on-site inspections have shown that the U.S. cannot effectively keep track of all its animals or meat, and that the country's meat processing facilities may inadvertently cause "cross-contamination" between good beef and SRMs during the butchering and packaging process.

Source: The Korea Herald

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