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From: TSS ()
Subject: NGOs Call for Boycott of US Beef
Date: May 30, 2006 at 3:31 pm PST

NGOs Call for Boycott of US Beef

By Kim Yon-se
Staff Reporter
The government’s decision to resume U.S. beef imports next month is rekindling calls for a boycott of U.S. beef because of a potential risk of mad cow disease.

Leading the calls for the government to withdraw its decision are the Solidarity for Anti-Mad Cow Disease group, the National Network for School Lunch and the Association of Lawyers for a Democratic Society.

In their joint statement, the nongovernmental organizations urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to withdraw its policy to import U.S. beef and said the U.S. government should stop its irrational pressure.

They also said the U.S. needs to reform its policies for anti-mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

``A series of cases of mad cow disease will be detected in the U.S. due to farmers’ continuous feeding of unsafe forage to cattle,’’ said Byun Hye-jin, a senior official of the Solidarity for Anti-Mad Cow Disease.

Saying that even the U.S. government is uncertain about the safety of beef produced there, she said, ``It is lamentable that South Korea notified the public that U.S. beef is safe to eat.’’

Regarding the age of the BSE-infected cow in the State of Alabama, she said, citing veterinarians’ common view, that it is difficult to calculate the exact age of cows older than five years using the method of ``differentiation through teeth.’’

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said it believes the cow is over eight years and that cows under eight years of age are safe from the BSE. The U.S. took anti-mad cow disease countermeasures in April 1998.

The National Network for School Lunch expressed anxiety about the possibility that U.S. beef will be supplied to schools after being disguised as meat from other countries.

``The government has no statistics on the origin of beef fed to students,’’ Lee Bo-hee, a leader of the NGO said. ``We oppose U.S. beef imports because of uncertainties about safety and an unsystematic distribution process.’’

Korea will resume importing beef from the U.S. on June 7, 30 months after it slapped a ban on beef products following a confirmed case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in 2003. The first batch of beef will arrive here in mid or late June.

An agriculture-forestry ministry official said the U.S. beef has little risk of being infected with BSE and stressed that, ``only meat processed in designated spots in the U.S. will be imported.’’



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