SEOUL, Jun. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — American beef is meeting increasing demand in Korea, with its import volume of 2,527 tons surpassing that of Australian beef between May 1 and 10, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on June 11.
American beef once faced an import ban in 2003 due to the mad cow disease outbreak in the U.S.
The Korean government decided to allow American beef, from cattle less than 30 months old, to be imported in 2008. However, Australian beef has been much more preferred by Koreans due to the bad reputation given to U.S beef by mad cow disease controversy.
Recently, U.S beef is regaining its long-lost popularity in Korea, and its total import volume in May was only slightly smaller than the import volume of Australian beef.
Price-wise, U.S beef is the winner as it sells for much higher prices than Australian beef does. A ton of U.S beef is 32 percent more expensive than its Australian counterpart.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (U.S.MEF), major customers of U.S. beef in Korea are steak-specialized restaurants such as Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and GOO STK 528, and large restaurant chains such as VIPS and Ashley.
U.S beef is also gaining trust from Koreans, as 5 out of 10 individuals polled by the U.S.MEF and Gallop answered that they are comfortable eating U.S. beef, while 44.7 percent of the respondents thought that U.S beef was safe. The figure is the highest among similar survey records so far.
By J. W. Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)