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June 5, 2008

South Korea Does Not Want American Beef!

American beef has become an unwanted product in many parts of the country. While companies continue to have problems with beef in the U.S. global markets are recognizing it. South Korea is seeing thousands of people take to the streets to protest the fact that some forms of American beef will be allowed back in the country.

Due to issues with beef in the United States, there are people around the world, including some in the United States, that do not want American beef. Mad cow disease is not something that can be cured or treated. Once you have it, you are sure to die. With odds like that, it is not hard to see why even a single case of mad cow disease would scare some from eating it. Those fears run even deeper if you are not in the United States. If you live somewhere else in the world, you may wonder why your country would use American beef. At least that is what is happening in South Korea. The country is waiting on resuming beef imports from the United States because citizens of the country seem to be completely against the process.

Beef was banned in 2003 when the case of mad cow disease in the United States. The borders were closed to American beef and have remained so every since. 40,000 protestors crowded central Seoul and 200 were detained. The Grand National Party encouraged the government to help the public feel better about American beef.

South Korea used to receive 815 million pounds of beef and beef variety meats from the United States. In wake of the closed border, the U.S. has lost up to 4 billion dollars. Last year the border was open to American boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age. However, interruptions eventually pushed the border to be closed again. Five years later reopening the border seems like any unlikely prospect.

The U.S. and South Korea reached an agreement in April that would not allow any materials that would be in the high risk category. Argricultural Minister Chung Woon-chun of South Korea said that the banned items, tonsils, brains, spinal cord marrow and part of the small intestine. These are the parts of the cow that are usually considered most dangerous when it comes to mad cow disease.

Over the past few years beef in the United States has been recalled for a number of reasons. That along with the mad cow scare of 2003 and the one actual case that was confirmed has added to fears and concerns about American beef. When 40,000 people make their way to the street and protest something the government needs to reconsider their decision. Opening up the border to American beef could cause a major uproar among the citizens of South Korea. Not to mention, if American beef is allowed in South Korea again boycotts could ensue.

Some of the protestors had signs and others were shouting “we don’t want crazy cows!” President Lee Myung-bak has apologized for his misinterpretation of the publics concern about beef. The opposition party has already fled a suit to get the beef ban back in place.

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