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South Korea to enhance US beef controls

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

Korea steps up import inspections
South Korea is to increase its safeguards and testing of imported US beef following a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The disease was found in a six-year-old beef cow from Florida last week, and although it does not change the US’ status in terms of being able to supply, the confirmed case has led to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for South Korea calling for the increase of inspection samples from the current 3% to 30% for all US beef imports.

This is the sixth confirmed case of BSE in the US since 2003. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the animal tested positive for atypical BSE as part of routine inspections. The animal was destroyed while the USDA said it “never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States”​.

In a statement to media, Korean Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho said: “We are taking pre-emptive measures and put public safety as a top priority. We need to consult with the U.S. government to promptly receive quarantine inspection results and closely monitor responses in other nations.”

Currently US beef that can be imported to Korea is restricted to cattle younger than 30 months with specified risk materials removed during slaughter.

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