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South Korea Resumes U.S. Beef Inspection

American beef is headed back to that country's store shelves.

South Korea's Agriculture and Forestry Ministry announced Sunday it will resume inspections of U.S. beef following safety guarantees from Washington. Four meat processing plants in the U.S. had been found to have mistakenly packed beef parts barred from coming into South Korea, which put a halt to inspections.

Without inspections, U.S. beef couldn't move from port to store shelf. Those days are over. South Korea has imposed an export shipping ban on the four companies implicated in the "illegal" shipments. Those companies will remain on a watch list until new sanitation measures are put in place, according to a South Korea wire service.

The inspections had stopped early in August, when South Korean officials had found spinal matter in American beef shipments. This is one of the materials banned for import into the country over fears associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

U.S. beef imports into South Korea were banned in 2003, when BSE was first discovered on a Washington state dairy operation. Late in 2006, South Korea resumed imports, but only of specific cuts of boneless meat.

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