SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea has suspended quarantine inspections of Canadian beef after the major exporter confirmed its first case of mad cow disease since 2011, the agriculture ministry here said Sunday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it has stopped quarantine inspections of Canadian beef, which began Friday after Canada confirmed some beef from the Alberta province was infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease. The Canadian government said the infected parts had not reached human food or animal feeding systems.
“Although Canada has provided limited information, the (Korean) government has stopped the quarantine inspections to prevent any beef infected with the mad cow disease from entering the country,” an agriculture ministry official said. “As the mad cow disease is not an infectious disease, (we) will decide whether to suspend imports considering possibilities of additional outbreaks.”
South Korea has banned Canadian beef following the outbreak of the mad cow disease in the nation in 2011 and resumed imports in March 2012.
Canada is the country’s fourth-largest beef exporter, following Australia, the United States and New Zealand. South Korea imported US$170.9 billion worth of beef from Canada last year.
A massive rally against a new trade deal on imports of U.S. beef in 2008 stirred fears among consumers in South Korea, leading to tougher regulations on beef imports.