South Korea lifts ban on beef with feed
additive: food ministry
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[September 02, 2014]
By Meeyoung Cho
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has lifted a
ban on the use of animal feed additive zilpaterol in beef, opening the
door to imports containing the growth enhancer as well as domestic sales
of the product.
Seoul said last October that it intended to ease its zero-tolerance
policy on zilpaterol-based drugs, such as Merck & Co Inc's Zilmax,
after a risk assessment found it could be permitted at certain
Many European countries as well as China ban the import of
zilpaterol-fed beef due to concerns about side effects of the
additive, which is used to aid growth in the weeks before animals
South Korea last year suspended some U.S. beef imports for more than
two months after traces of zilpaterol were found in two shipments.
An official at South Korea's food ministry confirmed on Tuesday that
imports of beef muscle with 1 part per billion (ppb) of zilpaterol,
5 ppb in beef liver and 10 ppb in beef kidney had been approved as
of late last month.
"The approved levels are scientifically safe even if consumers have
them for the rest of their lives," the official told Reuters by
phone. "The decision has come after asking farmers via months of
He noted the approved levels were lower than in other countries,
such as the United States, which permits 12 ppb of zilpaterol in
South Korea delayed the decision to lift the ban for a month earlier
this year after a request from China. The reason for the request was
not known, the ministry official said on Tuesday.
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South Korea is a major importer of beef from Australia, the United
States and New Zealand.
Zilmax was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in
2006. South Korea's assessment of its ban was carried out at the
request of Merck's subsidiary MSD Animal Health Korea.
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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