South Korea has suspended imports of U.S. beef from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, Arkansas City, KS, after government inspectors found a 0.4-in. piece of bone in a shipment that arrived Oct. 30. The halt doesn't affect any other of the total of 36 U.S. beef-shipping firms cleared to do business in South Korea.

After a three-year ban due to the discovery of BSE in the U.S., South Korea in early September resumed U.S. imports of boneless U.S. beef products coming from cattle under 30 months of age. The first shipment of 9.3 tons arrived on Oct. 30, but had languished in quarantine ever since.

The discovery means the beef will be returned or destroyed, Kang Mun Il, director general at the National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service says, reports. In addition, shipments from Creekstone have been barred until it provides an explanation, Kang said.

While the bone doesn't qualify as a specified risk material for BSE, Korean officials say it violates the U.S./Korean agreement that allows only boneless beef.
-- Joe Roybal