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Korea balks on taking U.S. beef

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Montgomery, Al
I say get out the test kits, start testing and shipping. We've got to win the consumers back, any one know a better way?

Seoul Negative on Lifting Import Ban on US Beef

By Na Jeong-ju
Staff Reporter
South Korea will resume importing beef from the United States and Canada only after proving they are free of mad cow disease, government officials said Sunday.

``We are facing increasing pressure to resume import of beef from North American countries. But we have a strong position on that matter. Their beef products can enter the Korean market only when they are proven safe to eat,¡¯¡¯ Kim Chang-sup, a director of the livestock management bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said.

Kim¡¯s comments followed news reports indicating concerted efforts by the U.S. and Canada to reopen Korea and Japan¡¯s beef markets, which had banned beef imports from the two countries since they were found to have contracted the brain-wasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

``We¡¯re approaching this issue very cautiously because a majority of Korean consumers believe the danger of mad cow disease still lingers on,¡¯¡¯ Kim said.

Kim Tae-gon, deputy director of the ministry¡¯s public information bureau, said sanitary tests have been conducted by experts to decide whether to resume the imports, but it will take some time before the results come out.

``The government¡¯s main focus is proving the safety of the meat for consumption. We can¡¯t take further steps if consumers feel the products are unsafe,¡¯¡¯ Kim said.

Korea and the U.S. have held working-level talks concerning the ban on U.S. beef imports. Pressure has been growing on the Korean side after Japan said it is willing to reopen its market to U.S. beef before summer.

On Saturday, Reuters reported that U.S. President George W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin talked on the phone and agreed to work together to encourage Korea and Japan to resume beef imports as soon as possible.

``Consumer groups have called on us to take more safety tests before having negotiations with the U.S. for the beef import,¡¯¡¯ Kim said. ``Even sanitary experts haven¡¯t reached any conclusion over the safety of U.S. beef. We can hold negotiations with the U.S. only after the beef is proven safe for consumption.¡¯¡¯


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