Global Processing

Tyson hopes to resume beef exports with lifting of South Korea ban

October 9, 2006

ASIA: Tyson Foods Inc., the world''s largest meat processor, hopes to resume beef sales to South Korea now that the Asian nation has finalized plans to lift a 2003 ban imposed over mad cow disease fears, the Associated Press reports. South Korea had been Tyson''s third-largest foreign beef market. South Korea recently approved resuming imports of U.S. beef after repeated delays in implementing an earlier decision to lift the ban. South Korea''s Agriculture Ministry said 36 U.S. slaughterhouses designated to handle meat for export to South Korea met required safety measures, clearing the last hurdle to the resumption of imports. South Korea will notify the slaughterhouses of the approval, and the beef can start to be sold in the South Korean market some 25 days later, the ministry said in a statement. Tyson''s beef plants are among those 36 slaughterhouses. The company currently operates nine U.S. beef plants, although it recently announced that one plant in Boise, Idaho, will be closed this fall. South Korea shut its doors to U.S. beef imports in December 2003 after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease. In July, Japan lifted its own ban on American beef. Before the ban, Japan was a top destination for U.S. beef, importing $1.4 billion worth a year.