South Korea to Send Beef Inspectors to US

The South Korean government will send a team of beef inspectors to the United States to verify the safety of American beef following the discovery of mad cow disease in a California farm.

The announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week that mad cow disease has been found in a California cattle farm has frightened consumers and led to a backlash from foreign importers. Mad cow disease, while rare, can spread quickly among cattle herds, sometimes requiring mass killings to stem the flow of the sickness. In addition, consumption of infected beef can potentially lead to Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, a fatal and degenerative brain disorder.

In response to the news, South Korea strengthened inspections of American beef. Despite earlier reports to the contrary, the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture denied that it would ban American beef imports.

The proposed inspection team, comprised of members of nine governmental agencies as well as academics and local consumer advocacy groups, will leave for Washington on Monday and stay through May 9, examining USDA documents about the mad cow case. The delegation announced that they would like to arrange a visit to the farm in question, but have not yet received permission from the owner.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer