Wednesday, October 16, 2013

South Korea Halts Some U.S. Beef Imports

South Korea has suspended some beef imports from the United States after traces of the feed additive zilpaterol was found in a shipment of 22 tons of meat from a JBS USA Swift Beef plant.  Zilpaterol is not approved for use in meat in South Korea.

On August 16, Merck halted sales of Zilmax, which contains the active ingredient zilpaterol, after receiving complaints about ill-effects in cattle; however, Merck did not recall the product, so it is possible that it was used after the suspension.  Studies by FDA and other worldwide regulatory agencies have concluded though that when Zilmax is used according to the label directions, the beef from cattle fed Zilmax is safe to eat and poses no safety threat to humans.

According to media reports, JBS issued a statement saying that it is working with the South Korean and United States governments to address the concern and reiterated that this is not a food safety issue.

The suspension involves just one company, JBS Swift.  From January to September, South Korea imported 75,426 metric tons of U.S. beef, 4,697 tons of which came from Swift Beef.  South Korea may continue to buy beef from U.S. plants to cover the loss of imports from that company.

For further information, see the Brownfield Ag News article covering the issue.

Written by Alyssa Looney – Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
October 16, 2013

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