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Canadian beef wants back on Korean shelves

June 14,2007
The Korean government said yesterday that it agreed to start a risk analysis to determine the safety of Canadian beef, which has been banned since May 2003.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said Canada has formally requested that action be taken to allow its beef to be imported to Korea after an announcement by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in late May.
Canada, along with the United States, was classified as a mad cow disease risk-controlled country by the OIE, which technically lifts most barriers to exports.
“Ottawa made an official request, and Seoul is inclined to begin negotiations,” said Kim Chang-seob, chief veterinary officer at the ministry. Kim, who led the Korean delegation to its first technical meeting earlier in the day, said a decision on lifting the ban will be made after a full evaluation of Canada’s beef production procedures in accordance with rules set by the World Trade Organization. This includes on-site inspections of cattle ranches and meat packaging facilities.
Before the ban, Korea imported roughly 17,000 tons of Canadian beef annually, or 5 percent of all imports for 2002. This put it in fourth place after the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
The Seoul office of the Canada Beef Export Federation said Korea should give Canadian beef the access to the domestic market afforded to American beef.
“Canada’s food safety regime is one of the most advanced in the world and it implements a rigorous program to remove specified risk materials from the meat,” said Amos Kim, the federation’s office chief in Seoul.



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