All US beef imported into South Korea will come from cattle less than 30 months old, officials said today, in a deal made to placate South Korean protesters worried about mad cow disease. Nonetheless, thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Seoul, calling for a complete renegotiation of an April agreement to resume imports of American beef.
The deal establishes a screening system to ensure that only beef from US cattle less than 30 months old—considered at less risk of mad cow disease—will enter the country, and gives South Korea the right to inspect US slaughterhouses. Parts of cattle such as brains, eyes, skulls and spinal cords that can carry mad cow disease will not be imported. The deal was made in a bid to halt daily demonstrations over the past month that have brought tens of thousands of protesters to the streets and threatened the stability of pro-U.S. President Lee Myung-bak's government.