September 11, 2006


Tyson hoping to resume beef exports to South Korea



Tyson Foods Inc, the world's largest meat processor, hopes to resume beef sales to South Korea now that the Asian nation has finalised plans to lift a 2003 ban imposed over mad cow disease fears.


South Korea had been Tyson's third-largest foreign beef market.


South Korea approved Friday (Sep 8) resuming imports of US beef after repeated delays in implementing an earlier decision to lift the ban.


"We're encouraged by South Korea's decision to resume US beef imports," said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson.


"While we hope to begin sending beef there soon, we must first receive additional clarification from USDA on the requirements involved," Mickelson said in a reference to the US Agriculture Department.


South Korea's Agriculture Ministry said 36 US slaughterhouses designated to handle meat for export to South Korea met required safety measures, clearing the last hurdle to the resumption of imports.


South Korea will notify the slaughterhouses of the approval Monday, and the beef can start to be sold in the South Korean market some 25 days later, the ministry said in a statement.


Tyson's beef plants are among those 36 slaughterhouses, Mickelson said. The company currently operates nine US beef plants, although it recently announced that one plant in Boise, Idaho, will be closed this fall.


South Korea shut its doors to US beef imports in Dec 2003 after the first US case of mad cow disease.


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