Indonesia Halts US Beef Imports

Posted April 26th, 2012 at 4:50 am (UTC-5)
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Indonesia has suspended imports of U.S. beef after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in California.

Vice Agriculture Minister Rusman Heriawan says the indefinite suspension took effect Thursday. Indonesia imports most of its beef from Australia and New Zealand, with only a small amount from the United States.

In South Korea, a major retailer reversed its earlier decision to discontinue selling U.S.-imported beef. The retailer, Home Plus, said it changed its mind after the government announced it was stepping up inspections of U.S. beef imports.

Seoul imposed a ban on U.S. beef imports after the disease was first discovered in 2003, but ended the ban in 2008 after reaching an agreement with Washington, an agreement that sparked several weeks of mass street protests. South Korea imported 107,000 tons of beef in 2011.

Meanwhile, Japan says it will continue to import U.S.-produced beef, since the infected cow was older than 30 months. Japan only imports beef from cattle 20 months old or younger.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters Wednesday the discovery will have no bearing on current talks with Washington over a trans-Pacific trade deal.

The U.S. Agriculture Department announced the discovery of the disease Tuesday, the first such case since 2006.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday that foreign countries can be assured that “American beef and dairy are safe.”