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From: TSS ()
Date: April 5, 2006 at 6:33 am PST

US Holds Infomation on Mad Cow Case

SEOUL (Yonhap) ¤Ñ The United States has failed to provide the date of birth of a cow linked to a third case of mad cow disease on its shores, a matter that could jeopardize Seoul's resumption of American beef imports, the government said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said Washington forwarded information on the cow Friday but gave no conclusive evidence to indicate its age.

``The data contained expert testimonies by veterinarians, but we cannot determine for certain if the cow was born before April 1998,'' said Park Hyun-chul, head of the ministry's livestock bureau.

The date is significant because if the animal was born after this date, South Korea could halt all efforts to renew imports of American beef. The date is when new measures to prevent mad cow disease went into full effect in the United States.

In March, Washington confirmed the discovery of a third case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease. Seoul placed an import ban on American beef after the first BSE case was discovered in 2003.

Park said Seoul has asked for additional information and could send South Korean inspectors to directly check the evidence.

The official said that because of the lack of information, the exact date for the resumption of American beef imports cannot currently be predicted. The imports were originally expected to hit the market in early May.

``At this moment, we are not saying that we will not resume the imports of American beef. But it remains hard to say exactly when the imports will resume,'' a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Seoul and Washington agreed early this year to allow American beef back into the country.

04-05-2006 19:46

U.S. Failure to Prove Mad Cow¡¯s Age Could Halt Imports

Korea says the U.S. has failed to prove its claim that a cow found infected with BSE there last month is 10 years old. That would jeopardize Korea¡¯s resumption of beef imports from the U.S. since the two sides agreed in negotiations in January that Korea can suspend imports again if U.S. cattle born after April 1998 come down with mad cow disease. On that date, the U.S. banned ¡°cannibalistic¡± feed made from cattle parts that is blamed for causing the disease.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said Wednesday it has been unable to determine whether the cow in question was born before or after March 1998 based on pictures and a letter from a veterinarian provided by the U.S. It asked the U.S. to provide more data, it added.

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