Condemning an entire beef shipment due to discovery of a small bone fragment is irrational, says a high-ranking South Korean government official. The Korea Herald quotes Kim Sung-jin, deputy minister for the Finance and Economy Ministry's international affairs division, as saying that, while public health is very important, Korea needs a "more rational and balanced approach of dealing with the issue of U.S. beef."

He's referring to South Korea's Dec. 6 rejection of a third U.S. shipment of beef due to the discovery of bone fragments. The Korean market reopened to boneless U.S. beef this fall under a zero tolerance for bone under an agreement negotiated by Korea's Ag Ministry and the US.

Kim also expressed disapproval of Korean beef prices, criticizing their level at 5-10 times the international average.

"Protecting the income of our livestock farmers is important, but I also think the rights of consumers are also important," Kim said, while pointing out that the market needs to fully open up to U.S. beef.
-- Joe Roybal