The South Korean government announced it will lift the ban on U.S. beef imports Thursday after negotiating extra safeguards against mad cow disease, according to a statement from the republic's Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The easing of restriction comes after the Korean government was forced to renegotiate an agreement following widespread protests in South Korea over concerns of tainted meat entering the market, Agence France-Presse reports.
Several thousand people staged a protest in central Seoul Wednesday evening, leading to 91 arrests.
Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-Chun said resumption of the imports could not be delayed any longer. He promised a new strict system under which all restaurants must disclose the origin of their beef products.
The revised deal limits shipments to beef from cattle that have been verified as younger than 30 months of age, a transitional measure aimed at bolstering Korean consumer confidence in U.S. beef.
South Korea, once one of the largest markets for U.S. beef, banned imports in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in the state of Washington.
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