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South Korea Eases Restrictions on Zilpaterol in Beef

By Amanda Brodhagen,

South Korea officials said Tuesday that it will soon tolerate certain levels of the livestock feed zilpaterol in beef.

In October, South Korea announced that it planned to adjust its zero tolerance policy on zilpaterol-type products and agreed to phase out tariffs on U.S. beef products over the next 15 years.

The feed additive is produced by Intervet, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Zilpaterol is added to feed cattle in the last three to six months before slaughter. Concerns were raised about the drug’s side effects on cattle, after a video surfaced in the United States, which showed cattle that had been fed the drug having trouble walking.

Beginning June, South Korea plans to allow 1 part per billion of traces of zilpaterol in beef muscle and 5 ppb in beef liver.  Several countries in Asia and Europe have banned zilpaterol in imported beef products.

South Korea is the third largest importer of U.S. beef.

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