South Korea lifts ban on beef imports containing zilpaterol

Growth enhancer now allowed in small amounts

South Korea has lifted a ban on the use of animal feed additive zilpaterol in beef. This will allow the country to receive imports containing the growth enhancer and sell the product domestically.

Many European countries and China ban imports of beef containing zilpaterol due to concerns over side effects, according to a report. The additive is used to increase growth in the weeks before the animals are slaughtered.

Last year, South Korea suspended some U.S. beef shipments for more than two months after traces of zilpaterol were found in shipments.

Imports of beef muscle containing 1 part per billion (ppb) of zilpaterol, 5 ppb in beef liver and 10 ppb in beef kidney were approved in August. These levels are lower than the approved levels in other countries.

“The approved levels are scientifically safe even if consumers have them for the rest of their lives,” an official at South Korea’s food ministry told Reuters. “The decision has come after asking farmers via months of public notices.”