U.S. beef shipments to South Korea to be discussed

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Thursday, February 01, 2007

South Korea plans to hold talks with the United States in February over Seoul's rejection of American beef shipments for containing banned bone fragments, a South Korean official said.

According to an official with South Korea's Agriculture Ministry the talks are likely to be held in Seoul early this month.

The official said the two sides will deal with the issue of "bone fragments", which South Korea fears could potentially harbour mad cow disease, but he didn't provide further details.

The beef issue has emerged as a key sore point between the two countries that are seeking to forge a free-trade agreement.

South Korea allowed the resumption of some imports late last year, on a limited basis. Boneless meat, only from cattle younger than 30 months, is allowed on the grounds that some material inside bones could be dangerous to consume and that younger animals are safe from mad cow disease.

But South Korean quarantine authorities returned all three shipments to the U.S. for containing the tiny bone fragments.

Before the start of the BSE-induced ban, South Korea was the third-largest market for U.S. export beef.