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Two major South Korean retailers halt sales of US beef

in International Business

Two major South Korean retailers halt sales of US beef

Two of South Korea’s biggest retailers have halted sales of US beef after the discovery of a case of “mad cow” disease in the US.

Lotte Mart and Home Plus have temporarily suspended sales at their stores after a dairy cow in California was found infected with the disease.

Meanwhile, South Korean authorities said they will step up checks on beef imports from the US.

South Korea imported 107,000 tonnes of beef from the US in 2011.

“We are gathering all the information regarding the mad cow disease and are evaluating how to respond to the situation,” an official at the ministry for food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries told the BBC.

However, the official said the ministry had not yet decided on a suspension of US beef imports.

“If we take any measure, it would be made public within a day,” he said.

The disease’s proper name is bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its first outbreak hit the US in 2003. At that time, South Korea banned all imports of American beef, though it has since lifted the restrictions.

The US has tried to allay any fears about the safety of its exports.

John Clifford, the chief veterinary officer for the US Department of Agriculture, said that “there is really no cause for alarm here with regard to this animal”.

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