South Korea has agreed to resume beef imports from Canada, lifting its eight-year ban imposed following an outbreak of mad cow disease in the North American country, South Korean agriculture ministry said Tuesday.
Under the agreement, South Korea will resume importing Canadian beef and bones from cows that are aged 30 months or less, according to South Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Any fresh or processed beef products containing specified risk materials, including tonsils, internal organs and intestines, that pose the greatest risk of passing on mad cow to humans, will continue to be banned, along with brains, skulls, eyes and spinal cords, South Korean (Yonhap) News Agency reported.
Any mechanically recovered meat, meat extracted using an advanced meat recovery process or ground beef will also be banned due to the possibility that it could contain prohibited materials, said Park Chul-soo, director general of the ministry''s food safety and consumer affairs policy bureau.
South Korea banned Canadian beef imports in 2003 when the North American country reported its first case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Canada gained the status of a "BSE controlled risk" country from the World Organization for Animal Health in 2007, but South Korea refused to open up its beef market as Ottawa reported 17 additional BSE cases since 2003 with the last case reported in February this year.