The tour of the US beef industry, which took place in August and September this year, was the first by any Korean media team since bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in the US in 2003 and South Korea introduced a ban on US beef. The ban was lifted in 2008, but there were widespread protests and negative media reports, with low consumer confidence in the product.
USMEF said that the tour, which included visits to ranchers, butchers, processors and chefs, resulted in “glowing” coverage about the US beef industry in three Korean culinary magazines.
“This type of positive reporting on the US beef industry in a key market like Korea is invaluable for our industry, from producers to processors to exporters,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Many months of education and cultivation have gone on behind the scenes to encourage these independent journalists to embark on this ‘farm to fork’ experience. The results speak for themselves.”
South Korea was the third-biggest market for US beef in 2003, importing 246,595 metric tons. However, by 2006 it was importing just 233 metric tons. In 2011, exports to the country had recovered to 154,019 metric tons.