SOUTH KOREA - The government has raised the alert for foot-and-mouth disease to its highest level after a fourth farm tested positive, which has caused the prices of beef and pork to rise and further burden Koreans who are already faced with high egg and poultry prices in the aftermath of the recent bird flu outbreak.
According to the Korea Institute for Animal Products Quality Evaluation on Friday, the prices for beef and pork has risen by 9 to 10 per cent compared to the end of last month.
The wholesale price of hanwoo, a type of premium Korean beef, was at 15,653 won per kilogram ($6.19 per pound) on 31 January. That has risen to 17,242 won as of Wednesday, four days after the foot-and-mouth outbreak began.
The wholesale price of pork has gone up from 4,329 won to 4,757 won during the same period.
The retail price of beef and pork sold at major discount stores has not changed, but the higher wholesales price is likely to be reflected at retail stores next week. One of the biggest retail chains, E-Mart, usually adjusts its meat prices every Thursday.
The bigger concern is the likely impact on pork prices, which are heavily dependent on the domestic market compared to beef. While over half the beef supplied in the local market is imported, roughly 90 percent of the pork sold here is from local farms.
During the nation’s worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, between 2010 and 2011, pork prices surged by over 40 per cent.
There have been growing concerns over the impact this might have on average households, which are already facing higher prices of other food products, particularly poultry.
Source: Korea Joongang Daily
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