Sunday, November 30, 2008

US Beef On Shelves of All Major Korean Supermarkets
» by GI Korea

It is interesting how people’s pocketbooks ultimately have a way of overcoming irrational paranoia:

South Korea’s supermarket chains resumed selling U.S. beef Thursday, nearly five months after the government lifted an import ban imposed over fears of mad cow disease.

South Korea banned American beef in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the U.S. The government lifted that ban in June — a move that sparked weeks of violent protests by South Koreans concerned about the health risks of eating U.S. meat.

U.S. beef has been available in small butcher shops and some restaurants, but major supermarkets and larger restaurants have been shying away from offering U.S. beef out of concerns of possible public backlash.

On Thursday, however, large discount department stores including E-mart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart began selling U.S. beef at 250 local branches, saying customers are demanding cheaper meat, according to the Korea Chainstores Association.

Small supermarkets and restaurants also are expected to resume selling U.S. beef soon, spokesman Ko Sang-bum said. [Star Tribune]

Of course the usual suspects were not happy about this however few of them could actually be mobilized to do anything about it:

About 20 activists staged a rally in front of a Seoul E-mart store, chanting anti-U.S. beef slogans voicing their fears of mad cow disease. There were no immediate reports of violence.

“It’s sly of them to start selling mad cow beef and exploit consumers who are being pressured by the economic downturn,” said Jeon Sung-do, secretary general of the Alliance of National Farmers’ Associations. “We will continue to stage protests outside shops that sell U.S. beef.”

Maybe the mad cow protesters should go recruit some Australians to go protest with them since they too are being adversely effected by the introduction of US beef into Korea:

Sales of U.S. beef have outpaced Australian imports on their first day on sale at South Korea’s large discount outlets, industry sources said Friday.

The country’s top three retailers said combined sales of U.S. beef reached 50.1 tons on Thursday, 33 percent higher than the 37.3 tons originally anticipated. [Yonhap]

Has there ever been an issue that ultimately ended up being much to do about nothing then this US beef issue?

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