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No beef deal yet with Korea

Officials from South Korea are scheduled to come to Canada this month and visit beef slaughterhouses as Korea reconsiders its five-year-old ban on Canadian beef and cattle.

The Koreans’ visit will allow them “to see first hand the effectiveness of Canada’s food safety and animal health safeguards,” the Canadian government said Nov. 10.

Korea’s ports have been closed to Canadian beef since 2003 on the discovery of Canada’s first homegrown case of BSE. The market was previously Canada’s fourth biggest for beef, worth about $50 million a year. Canadian and Korean veterinary officials held technical talks Nov. 3 and 4 toward restoring Canadian beef trade.

Korean news agency Yonhap recently reported Seoul may opt to only allow meat from cattle under 30 months old, given Canada’s 13 domestic cases of BSE (14 counting an Alberta-born animal in Washington state) since 2003.

But Yonhap also quoted industry insiders as saying since Seoul already lifted a similar ban against U. S. beef in June, restrictions on Canadian beef will likely be lifted.

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