BSE Update: South Korean Officials Head to U.S.


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by Rita Jane Gabbett

A group of South Korean officials, scholars and others left for the United States Monday to look into the discovery of a 10-year-old California dairy cow infected with an atypical form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), according to the Korean news agency Yonhap. 

The nine-member team, led by an official at South Korea’s Animal, Plant and Fisheries Quarantine and Inspection Agency, is on a 10-day trip involving a USDA  visit and tours of dairy farms and slaughterhouses.

South Korea has not suspended U.S. beef imports because of the cow’s age and the fact that it did not enter the food chain. South Korea currently imports beef from cattle less than 30 months old with all specified risk materials (SRMs), known to transmit mad cow disease, removed.

USDA officials did not return a request for more details on the South Korean visit by press time.


Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported Thailand will suspend U.S. beef imports.

U.S. Meat Export Federation spokesman Joe Schuele told Meatinplace that Thailand has not yet officially informed the U.S. government of such a market closure, but he said USMEF has alerted its members that a closure appears likely.

Thailand currently restricts U.S. beef imports to boneless cuts from cattle 30 months of age or younger. Last year Thailand imported about $1.2 million worth of U.S. beef, making it a small importer — ranking 63rd of U.S. beef importing nations.   


Taiwan’s Department of Health said Saturday it is also seeking permission from relevant U.S. authorities to visit U.S. slaughterhouses in light of the BSE discovery in California, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

The department already arranges such trips once or twice a year to assess the safety of U.S. beef imports. This trip is also being prompted by the recent controversy over residues of the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine in U.S. beef, according to health department spokesman Wang Che-chao.


Posted by Haylie Shipp


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