Officials in South Korea are continuing their efforts to ensure that food-and-mouth disease stays out of the country’s animal herd in the future. South Korea was hit hard by last year’s outbreak and faced a lesser setback again this year.
Now, officials there are requiring anyone entering South Korea who have visited a farm or livestock market in a country with a current or previous case of FMD or avian influenza will have to report their visit to immigration. This action takes place as of July 25, reports Arirang, a South Korean news outlet.
Officials with the Quarantine and Inspection Agency also point out that Korean nationals who are working in the country’s livestock sector must report before visiting a country on the FMD or AI “watch list.” Currently there are 68 FMD status countries and 17 countries on the avian influenza list.
Any person who fails to comply with these new regulations will be fined 5 million won, or about $4,700 U.S. dollars, Arirang reports.
One of the lingering fallouts from South Korea’s FMD break has been reduced meat supplies due to cattle and swine culling and higher meat prices. It’s estimated that the country lost one-third of its swine herd. To elevate the supply and price challenges, officials opened more of the market to some countries and in the United States’ case, lifted some export restrictions this spring. Pork is the nation’s No. 1 consumed meat.
Now, South Korean officials say they will expand those reduced tariffs to more pork imports. "We will significantly expand the amount of pork imports subject to lower tariff rates, while at the same time encouraging (pork) producers and distributors to voluntarily cooperate in stabilizing prices," Minister of Finance Jae-Wan Bahk said on Friday.
South Korea has been facing extended price inflation, which government officials worry could stall the country’s economic recovery. The nation's consumer prices jumped 4.4 percent last month from a year earlier, marking the sixth straight month that the figures exceeded the government's annual inflation target of 4 percent, reports Yonhap News Agency.