Two Grocery Chains In South Korea Halt Sale Of U.S. Beef Citing Mad Cow Concerns

Refusing to sell American beef is one way to spread fear about mad cow disease, even after the USDA assured consumers not to worry about the one cow in California that was found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and that’s exactly what two major South Korean grocery chains are doing.

The AFP says the two retailers announced they’ve suspended sales of U.S. beef after yesterday’s news of a single cow with the disease. Lotte Mart says it’s stopped sales at all of its 95 outlets.

“From today, we have suspended sales of all US beef, reflecting consumer concerns. We will take our next steps after watching government action,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

Home Plus, which is owned by Britain’s Tesco, is doing something similar.

The USDA stressed yesterday that there was no danger that meat from the one affected dairy cow would end up in the food chain. South Korea wouldn’t import any beef that would be connected with that single California cow.

Mad Cow can be fatal to humans who eat an infected cow’s meat. As such, South Korea says it’s strengthening inspection imports and will take other steps once more details come out about the latest case. The country imports about 37% of America’s beef.

Elsewhere in Asia, the response is tepid — Japan isn’t making any policy changes and Taiwan’s authorities are undecided on whether to do anything. Singapore is already confident in its import requirements, calling them “sufficiently robust.”

Two S. Korea retailers halt US beef sales over mad cow [AFP]

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  1. MutantMonkey says:

    I don’t blame them for being overly cautious. They’ll be buying again in a few days or so once the tests come back clean.

    • Jawaka says:

      Agreed. If the infected cow was found in a foreign country I’m sure the US would halt imports from that country until we were comfortable that it was safe again.

  2. Don't Bother says:

    It’s nice that at least some countries have standards when it comes to inspecting meat.

  3. Cat says:

    Can we just stop bovine cannibalism, please?

  4. consumed says:

    Since it’s supposed to be a cow that produces milk, and not beef, isn’t it kind of a kneejerk reaction to stop importing beef? I don’t get it.

  5. Sarek says:

    Anyone who eats this must have a hole in his head. Oh wait………

  6. Hoss says:

    Did anyone warn the dogs about this?

  7. humphrmi says:

    The FDA has a habit of saying everything’s fine until it isn’t. Taking the FDA assurances with a grain of salt is probably a good idea, at least in the short term.

  8. Naked-Gord-Program says:

    Good for them. I wish all governments were as cautious as they are. It’s a shame they’re next store to those nutjobs in North Korea or this would be a country I’d love to live.

  9. Naked-Gord-Program says:

    Good for them. I wish all governments were as cautious as they are. It’s a shame they’re next store to those nutjobs in North Korea or this would be a country I’d love to live.

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Dammit, stop feeding dead cows to other cows. If they stop doing this stupid crap, then there will be no problem. Why can’t people do things that make sense? Oh yeah, because they’re stupid.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      It’s like Soylent Green but with cows! Yuck.

    • Maz says:

      While I think we don’t have the best controls, as of right now soybean is so cheap in the US that US beef doesn’t get fed US beef in most cases.

      And the FDA is suppose to regulate animal feed, not the USDA.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Also another food they shouldn’t be eating. They are ruminants and should be eating grasses.

  11. lilah says:

    Not saying SK isn’t right to halt imports, but this has less to do with caution and safety and more to do with anti-American sentiment. South Koreans have protested and boycotted American beef for years, and there were a few high profile scandals a while back in which news outlets were made to apologize for false allegations and made up reports of American human deaths secondary to BSE. So some people in South Korea have been eagerly awaiting this moment.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      So when the US does it to all of Asia, Europe, and South America, we’re doing it to protect our food supply. But when they do it to us, they’re anti-american?

      How’s the view from atop that horse?

      • lilah says:

        Please. I didn’t mention all of Asia, Europe, and South America, I addressed one specific country with a long prior history of civilian American beef boycott. As I said, I don’t disagree with their decision. I was just offering an explanation as to why their response is so much more vigorous and quick than other countries in the world. And I am not aware of any instance of the United States fabricating reports of spongiform encephalopathy deaths in order to strengthen support for beef bans (though I wouldn’t put it past the American media).

        • RvLeshrac says:

          We banned all import of European, Japanese, and South American beef even long after their tests showed that their herds were safe, and despite the fact that the only country remaining that hasn’t banned the practices that lead to BSE is the United States.

  12. moonunitrappa says:

    Good. Maybe a few more boycotts will make them test each and every damn cow.

  13. elangomatt says:

    Good, maybe prices for beef will go down in this country then if we stop exporting to SK.

  14. WB987 says:

    Prions are terrifying, but this may be more about SK ranchers pushing out a competitor. After all, that’s what our American ranchers do– freedom-loving, small-government adoring– when they can. Get beef imports banned and viola! More market share and less competition!

  15. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    The U.S. only tests a very small percentage of cattle. But, if you apply the stats over all cattle in the U.S., there is a pretty likely chance that it’s more than one cow. I think they are pretty smart for banning U.S. beef at this point. The human version of mad cow isn’t too pleasant.

  16. bugalaman says:

    good thing I don’t buy my beef from Lotte Mart. That’s where I get my soju