S. Korea Stores Yank US Beef Over Mad Cow Mad Cow scare affects two major retailers, but EU, Japan keeping cool By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Apr 25, 2012 7:37 AM CDT 2 comments Comments A South Korean store employee sets out packs of domestic beef on the shelves at a Lotte Mart store in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) (Newser) – Two of South Korea's biggest grocery chains have temporarily halted the sale of US beef in response to the latest mad cow scare. "Not that there were any quality issues in the meat," a spokesman for the country's third-largest chain tells the AP, "but because consumers were worried." Like many Asian countries, South Korea stopped selling American beef after the 2003 mad cow outbreak; when they started selling it again in 2008, people protested in the streets and held candlelight vigils. US officials insist the public was never in danger, and so far the rest of the world is taking their word for it. The European Union said it was "satisfied" that the US had taken appropriate measures, Reuters reports. Japan also said there was no reason to restrict imports—which is a big deal, the Wall Street Journal points out, because before the 2003 outbreak, Japan accounted for 47% of US beef exports. But Japan, too, banned the beef until 2008, and sales are only now recovering.