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GMO-FREE REGIONS & PRODUCTS: Parliament of South Korea bannedgenetically modified food from school menus

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Parliament moves to tighten safeguards on U.S. beef
SOURCE: Yonhap News, South Korea
DATE:   17.05.2007

Parliament moves to tighten safeguards on U.S. beef

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- A group of 19 lawmakers Thursday submitted
bills to tighten safeguard measures on beef and other agricultural goods
imported from abroad. 

The move came amid lingering concerns that mad cow disease and other
health risk factors may slip into the country following the resumption
of U.S. beef imports beginning last month.

The bills introduced by the lawmakers of the minor opposition Democratic
Labor Party and other parties aim to require all restaurants and school
cafeterias to use beef and rice with country-of-origin labels; ban
genetically modified food from school menus; ban the use of beef raised
on offal; and ban the use of offal in feed production for animals like
cattle and deer.

Using animal remains to make feed supplements for cattle has been linked
to the spread of mad cow disease. 

"If we can't prevent the import of beef that has a risk of mad cow
disease, at least we should guarantee consumers with the right to know,"
Rep. Kang Ki-kap with the Democratic Labor Party said.

Currently, food hygiene standards are loosely applied to protect the
industry. Among restaurants, only 2.7 percent are required to use food
ingredients that have a country-of-origin mark because the food hygiene
law applies to only those having a space larger than 300 square meters.
Schools are entirely exempted from the law. 

South Korea resumed the import of U.S. beef in late April after imposing
a ban in December 2003 following the discovery of a case of mad cow
disease in the U.S. 

The ban was lifted in early 2006 on the condition that meat should be
boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old.

However, over 20 tons of beef that arriving in three shipments last year
were entirely sent back because of a few packages containing bone chips.

On April 23, 6.4 tons of meat from the U.S. state of Kansas passed
quarantine inspections for local sales, opening the door to imports from
the U.S.

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