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From: TSS ()
Subject: Seoul again rejects U.S. beef on bone chip discovery
Date: November 30, 2006 at 7:15 pm PST

2006/12/01 11:45 KST

Seoul again rejects U.S. beef on bone chip discovery

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it has rejected a shipment of three tons of U.S. beef because bone chips were found in the meat, the second case in just three weeks.

On Nov. 24, South Korea, the third-largest buyer of U.S. beef in 2003, rejected the first shipment of the meat to arrive here since lifting a three-year ban imposed out of fear of mad cow disease in September this year, saying it found bone fragments, which violated an agreement.

"The bones do not seem to be specified risk material, but it violates the agreement with the United States to ship only boneless beef," the National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service said in a statement.

Under the agreement, U.S. beef suppliers to South Korea are required to ensure that bones, spinal cord and brains are removed from the meat. Also, the beef must come from cattle no older than 30 months.

Seoul imposed bans on U.S. beef after an animal with mad cow disease was found in the state of Washington in December 2003.

South Korea had been under pressure from the U.S. to resume beef imports amid negotiations for a free trade agreement with the U.S.

The two countries are aiming to conclude the talks by the first quarter of next year so President George W. Bush can approve it before his trade authority expires in July 2007.

A beef trade dispute may be one of the major hurdles in the upcoming talks to be held in Montana next week, watchers said.

Mad cow disease is a brain-wasting livestock illness. Hunans eating contaminated meat from infected animals can contract a fatal form of the disease.

(END)


http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/Engnews/20061201/640000000020061201114548E1.html


TSS




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