Specified Risk Material

SRM refers to the specified risk material that can be contaminated with prions, the proteins that cause mad cow disease. Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on Wednesday suspended its inspections of all U.S. beef imports after again finding banned vertebral bones in a shipment. The spinal column is considered a specified risk material for BSE or mad cow disease (the prions are never in the meat itself, but always in the nerve cells along the bones).

Chosun Ilbo reports that the violation of Korea's import agreement with the U.S. that permits only shipments of boneless beef persuaded the ministry to prevent any more U.S. beef from reaching consumers for the time being.

The photo of a National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service official shows a huge section of spine found in a shipment of U.S. beef on Thursday. Photo: Chosun Ilbo.


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