South Korea puts the brakes on beef imports from JBS |

South Korea puts the brakes on beef imports from JBS

According to news reports, South Korea, earlier this month, announced that the country would no longer import U.S. beef from a Colorado packing plant after traces of the controversial drug Zilmax were found in some beef from that packer.

Many Asian countries have banned feed additives such as zilpaterol (the generic name for the drug).

The Greeley, Colo., – based JBS USA international food-processor said officially that it was working with the U.S. and South Korean governments to address the rejection of its beef, which came from one of its U.S. facilities.

Zilmax is included in rations during the last few weeks of the fattening process. While there is a three-day withdrawal period, residue of the drug could linger if those guidelines are not properly adhered to. Plus, some veterinarians have said trace amounts of zilpaterol linger longer in organs, such as kidney and lungs, which are not popular in the United States but are widely consumed in Korea and other Asian countries.

While Zilmax’s maker, Merck, suspended sales of the drugs two months ago following a surprising announcement by Tyson that the meatpacking conglomerate would no longer purchase cattle fed the drug designed to increase muscle mass, traces of the pharmaceutical could still be in use, as they didn’t recall the product but instead just stopped offering it for sale, according to a Reuters story.

The Reuters story explained that South Korea’s food ministry halted imports from a work site at Swift Beef Co, a unit of JBS USA, and requested a U.S. investigation into the cause of the contamination, discovered in 22 tonnes of meat.

South Korea imported 75,426 tonnes of US beef from January to September.