South Korea delisted a U.S. beef plant this week due to positive tests for zilpaterol residues. While the delisting led to some media speculation about a disruption in beef trade with Korea, this is unlikely. At this time, the delisted plant is the only U.S. facility that will see formal changes in the manner in which its shipments to Korea are inspected. Product from the delisted plant that is already en route to Korea may still enter the market, but only after it is subject to 100 percent laboratory testing and clearance.
USMEF is seeking information on the steps necessary for this plant – and any U.S. plants that may be delisted for similar reasons – to be reinstated. Shipments from all other U.S. establishments will still be subject to routine sensory inspection procedures. Exporters are reminded, however, that while Korea has adopted a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine, no MRL is in place for zilpaterol. Because of the heightened level of attention surrounding this issue, exporters are advised to carefully monitor all beef shipments to Korea and work closely with their importers to ensure clearance into the market.
USMEF-Korea reports that while the delisting has received some coverage in the Korean media, it is not widespread or extensive among major news outlets. Because of this, the delisting appears to have caused little anxiety among retail and foodservice outlets that carry U.S. beef.