More U.S. beef concernsThere is news that some beef sold in the United States is being recalled.
There reportedly are worries that it may be infected with pathogenic bacteria O157, which can cause food poisoning.
Of what is now known, the recalled U.S. beef was ground beef used to make hamburger patties, all for consumption in the United States and not exported to Korea.
However, we cannot but express concern over the recalls and question the safety of U.S. beef. So now, it is not just mad cow disease that may threaten the public’s health.
Furthermore, of the two sources of the beef in the recall, one is the Nebraska beef slaughterhouse that has been allowed to export beef to Korea. It is only right that imports should stop if the beef has a risk for mad cow disease but also if it can cause fatal food poisoning.
Also, if the imported beef is produced from the same slaughterhouse where the O157 bacteria was discovered, then import should stop. We should also get confirmation that imported beef is safe from the bacteria.
The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries declared that it will send back all imported beef produced at the slaughterhouse where O157 was discovered, if it is discovered here during inspection. However, such measures are not enough.
Rather than sending the beef cuts back after importing them, we should find measures so that beef that may be infected should not be imported to begin with. In this regard, the United States should take more faithful measures.
It is known that the South Korean government already asked a month ago that beef produced from the same slaughterhouse during the same period that the O157 infection took place should be banned from export to Korea. The United States has not responded to the request so far.
As such, it will be impossible to alleviate the Korean people’s suspicion and insecurity over all U.S. beef. It could be that infection from O157 bacteria may be more dangerous than mad cow disease.
The South Korean government should not sit and wait for the U.S. response, but proactively confirm and seek assurance about the safety of U.S. beef. Securing the safety of food in advance is real quarantine sovereignty.