The previously rejected Dec. 1 shipment of 10.2 tons of U.S. beef to South Korea was yet again found unfavorable by officals due to the discovery of traces of dioxin, a toxic chemical, reports Meatingplace.com.
Last week, South Korea's Ag and Forestry Ministry said it found 6.26 picograms of dioxin in one gram of fat, an amount exceeding Korea's 5-picogram limit. One picogram equals one trillionth of a gram. The World Health Organization's daily limit of the consumption of dioxin is 1-3 picograms.
USDA spokesman Keith Williams says the amount of dioxin inspectors reportedly found in the shipment was unusually high. Assuming results are accurate, the findings would be inconsistent with levels of dioxin found in U.S. beef samples, Williams said. "Let's put it this way: If we found 6.26 picograms of dioxin [in our samples], public health officials would be all over it," he said.
Meanwhile, the Korea Herald reports the contamination was found in a randomly selected package of beef from the 10-ton shipment. Korean quarantine officials said it's necessary to look into how the beef got contaminated with dioxin, adding they believe it could be related to the type of feed.
The article also reports that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), who will become the next chair of a trade subcommittee in the 110th U.S. Congress, says he'll seek to impose tariffs on goods from countries that restrict U.S. beef imports. Dorgan addressed his remarks in a letter to U.S. Trade Rep. Susan Schwab.
-- Alaina Burt