U.S. beef shipments cause public rift in Korean government

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

South Korea rejected three consecutive shipments of U.S. beef for small bone fragments.

According to the Korean Minister of Finance public health is very important, but in his opinion a more rational and balanced approach of dealing with the issue of U.S. beef is needed.

AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle said that this statement marks the first sign of a major rift in the Korean government over its decisions to condemn every shipment of U.S. beef sent there thus far after finding single bone fragments in a multi-ton beef cargo hold.

The standards being applied by the Korean government would be commercially unachievable, would have no public health rationale and are inconsistent with international animal health standards, Boyle added.

Korea lifted an import ban on U.S. beef in September, which resulted from a case of BSE confirmed in the U.S. state of Washington in December 2003. But on the pretext of upholding public health standards have been imposed that went against the consensus of the international community, stressed Kim Sung-jin, deputy minister for the Finance and Economy Ministry's, criticizing the "unreasonable" approach of the nation's Agriculture Ministry and quarantine measures. Kim said that the market needs to fully open up to U.S. beef.

Senator Byron Dorgan declared that he would seek tariffs against countries that unfairly restrict U.S. beef imports, including Korea.

Additionally, a new problem seems to arise: South Korean inspectors detected dioxin amounts in U.S. beef that exceeded the Korean limit of 5 picogram remarkably, the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE reported. However, these news have still to be confirmed.