(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday began strengthening quarantine checks on U.S. beef imports following a report of a mad cow disease case, the agriculture ministry said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it increased sampling inspections carried out on American beef from the previous 3 percent to 10 percent, after the United States announced an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in a beef cow at a plant in South Carolina last week.
It was the seventh detection of BSE in the U.S. since 2003, according to foreign media reports.
The Seoul government has asked for additional information regarding the case from the U.S. to come up with necessary quarantine measures further in consultation with related authorities and experts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the animal never entered slaughter channels and it did not expect any trade impacts as a result.
The U.S. was the largest beef exporter to South Korea last year, with U.S. beef accounting for 54.1 percent of South Korea's total beef imports of 474,511 tons.
The volume and market share of U.S. beef imports marked the highest levels since South Korea opened its market to American beef in 2008.
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