November 5, 2008


South Korea calls for age limit on Canadian beef imports

South Korea wants an age limit on cattle at negotiations aimed at reopening the domestic beef market to Canadian beef, Seoul said on Tuesday (Nov 4, 2008).


South Korea has a newly revised law that sets an age limit if the exporting country has reported a bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease case within the past 5 years.


The 30-month age limit is important because most cattle that contracted mad cow disease were older animals.


Canada had 14 mad cow disease cases from May 2003.


A government official said Canada wished to receive the same level of market access that South Korea offers US beef, and emphasised that enforced feed control systems introduced in July 2007 would greatly reduce the number of animals that contract mad cow disease.


Canadian negotiators said Canada received the same "controlled risk" classification as the US from the World Organisation for Animal Health, the official said. A "controlled risk" classification allows a country to export meat with nearly no restrictions.


South Korea said it wants to send a team to Canada within the month to inspect the said feed systems.


The two countries have also agreed to hold additional talks to exchange views on the classification of specified risk materials (SRM), how to issue export permits to Canadian meat processing facilities and what measures to take if there is another BSE outbreak, according to South Korea.


Both sides also agreed to move forward the talks that would permit South Korean canned chicken stew to be exported to Canada.


Before imports were banned in May 2003, Canada was the fourth largest beef exporter to South Korea, behind the US, Australia and New Zealand.

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