Japan Suspends Korean Pork Imports Following Possible Cholera Case

by 5m Editor
30 November 2004, at 12:00am

JAPAN - South Korean Agriculture Ministry said Monday that blood samples from pigs on South Korean southern Jeju Island have tested positive for cholera antibodies, prompting Japan to temporarily suspend pork imports from South Korea.

"The suspension of quarantine inspection for Jeju pork went into effect this morning after Seoul notified Tokyo," said Park Hyun-chool, director general of the ministry's Livestock Bureau.

He added that close examination of the test results and interviews with the four farms indicated that the pigs had been given vaccination shots and were not exposed to cholera directly.

Seoul detected the antibodies in the pig blood samples last Wednesday, but had not made the information public so it could determine the reason for the results, according to Park.

"We know farmers gave the pigs the shots but are trying to figure out why they did so when such actions are prohibited on the island," the official said. He added that from all indications the incident was isolated and once a clear reason is found, South Korea will ask Japan to resume import inspections.

Pigs raised on the mainland are not exported to Japan because all have to be inoculated, but Jeju-brand pork has been exported since this April. The island sold 628 tons of pork worth 2.8 million US dollars from May to October.

The minister said that with the price of a mature pig at an all time high of 259,000 won (247 dollars) and with the current high domestic demand there is little chance of farmers being hurt by the latest incident. The South Korean pork market stood at 880,000tons in 2003.

Source: eFeedLink - 30th November 2004

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