Major beef markets around the globe remain open to U.S. imports a day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the nation’s fourth case of mad cow disease.
Government officials in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan and the European Union all released statements saying they would not ban U.S. beef based on the diagnosis of a dairy cow in California’s Central Valley.
Russia has not imposed a ban, but officials there said they are watching the situation closely and could stop imports in the near future.
Samples from the infected cow have been sent to laboratories in Canada and Britain for final confirmation, Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said in a statement, adding that the case was unlikely to affect the current USDA "controlled risk" categorization for mad cow disease.
Despite the calm official reactions to the situation, there was public and consumer backlash in Asia.
Two major retail chains in South Korea pulled all U.S. beef from store shelves after the USDA announcement.
Health officials there stepped up inspections of beef entering the country and Home Plus, a unit of Britain’s Tesco, within hours put the U.S. meat back on sale. But executives of the chain told the Associated Press they didn’t know if they would make future purchases from the U.S.
In Taiwan, a small group of students rallied against U.S. beef imports — but the protest took place hours before the mad cow discovery; instead, they were challenging imports of U.S. beef imports containing trace residues of the livestock feed additive ractopamine. A legislative debate on U.S. beef imports scheduled for Wednesday was canceled by the government.