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S. Korea cautious on U.S. beef imports

March 6, 2005 at 9:30 AM

SEOUL, March 6 (UPI) -- South Korea, which banned U.S. and Canadian beef because of mad cow disease, says it will resume beef imports only after it's satisfied with safety.

"We are facing increasing pressure to resume imports of beef from North American countries. But we have a strong position on that matter," said Kim Chang-sup, a director of the livestock management bureau at the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. "Their beef products can enter the Korean market only when they are proven safe to eat."

South Korea banned beef imports after some U.S. and Canadian cows contracted the brain-wasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

"We're approaching this issue very cautiously because a majority of Korean consumers believe the danger of mad cow disease still lingers on," Kim told the Korea Times.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman had urged South Korea and Japan to follow Canada in lifting bans on American beef.

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