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Korea rejects 66 Tons of U.S. Beef

SEOUL, June 4 Asia Pulse - South Korea will send back 66.4 tons of U.S. beef that failed to meet the country´s import requirements, the government said Monday.

The beef that will be sent back was processed for the American market and not meant for export," a press release by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said. It said Seoul plans to ban further imports of beef from Tyson Foods Inc. which exported the wrong meat.

"Richard Raymond, the under secretary for food safety at the U.S. agriculture department, notified Seoul of Washington´s findings over the weekend," the ministry said. It added that South Korea´s government strongly urged the United States to tighten its oversight of meat exports.

One of the two shipments to be sent back includes two boxes full of chuck short ribs that were found by government inspectors last week.

The shipment that arrived in Busan on May 25 contained 15.2 tons of beef. A second shipment from Tyson Foods that arrived the following day had 51.2 tons of the product.

The ministry said it is in the process of asking the United States to provide more information on how the export of the two shipments was permitted.

Under a January 2006 deal, South Korea agreed to import boneless U.S. beef from cattle under 30 months old. It still bans imports of bone-in beef like ribs. The two sides are to hold talks on changing the import guidelines, but Seoul has said the existing rules will be enforced before new standards are introduced.

South Korea banned all U.S. beef in late 2003 after that country reported a case of mad cow disease.