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The South Korean government has clarified its position on the importation of US beef, saying that after finding banned bone parts in one shipment, it has not reimposed a ban but rather that suspended inspection procedures – which will have the effect of stopping the sale of US beef in the country for the time being.

The Korean government has warned that if the US government does not take appropriate actions, a full-scale ban could be put back into place.

The risk material – believed to be cattle bone and brain matter – is not supposed to be any shipments because it is believed it could carry bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease. After having banned US beef in late 2003, South Korea finally opened its markets to US beef last year, but with stringent conditions that now appear to have been violated.
KC's View:
The US government only seems to believe in these inspections as a matter of commerce as opposed to a matter of food safety and science…so I’d expect that they’ll try to do something to improve their image with the South Koreans. But whether this will have any impact on ongoing negotiations with the Japanese about beef shipments to that country – where they are even more concerned about BSE than in Korea – is anyone’s guess.