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S. Korea bans 'downer' cattle from meat supply

All Headlines 11:28 November 07, 2009

SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea banned the slaughter of cattle too sick to walk for the meat supply to boost public confidence in food safety, officials said Saturday.

Under the tightened regulation, most "downer" cattle will be banned from entering slaughterhouses from Monday, according to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

"It will be a step to increase consumer confidence in the safety of local beef," said a ministry official.

But the ministry allowed some animals that can't walk because of injuries or diseases related to giving birth to be slaughtered for meat supply.

The downer cattle should be inspected for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called mad cow disease, and then legally buried or sent for incineration, according to the ministry.

Last year, South Korea resumed imports of U.S. beef, lifting its ban that had been imposed after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in Washington state in 2003. The resumption sparked public concerns about the disease, and weeks of street protests rocked the Seoul government.

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