South Korea cuts off beef imports from Colorado plant

Growth enhancer found in beef from Greeley, Colo., packing plant.

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — South Korea has cut off beef imports from a Colorado meat-packing plant after finding a controversial growth enhancer in the meat.

The beef came from a 22-ton shipment from Greeley, Colo.-based JBS USA, KUNC reported this week (http://bit.ly/GP6PP0). Korean food inspectors found traces of Zilmax, a supplement designed to bulk up cattle before slaughter.

Many European and Asian countries, including South Korea, have banned the use of feed additives like Zilmax. Some say the supplement may be causing the animals lameness or difficulty in moving.

Meatpackers Tyson and Cargill have stopped buying cattle that were fed Zilmax. A few days ago the Chicago Mercantile Exchange put in a place a similar policy.

“We are working with our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the South Korean government to resolve the issue concerning one of our U.S. facilities. Given the current situation in Washington, D.C., and the lack of official notification from South Korea, we do not have definitive information at this time,” JBS officials wrote in a statement.

Merck, the pharmaceutical company that makes Zilmax, has suspended sales while further research is done to see if there is a connection between Zilmax and lameness in cattle.

A professor in Colorado State University’s Center for Meat Safety and Quality said global markets can be tricky to navigate because standards vary.

“What ends up happening in international markets is that you have different countries with a lack of harmonized policies. It’s the next great artificial trade barrier, for any country,” professor Keith Belk said.



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