A report by the US Internal Trade Commission has failed to give any indication as to the current US position over the import tariffs on Australian lamb. The tariffs, which were recently deemed unfair by the World Trade Organisation, were not even mentioned.

This has left Australian sheep farmers uncertain as to their future trading relations with the US, and Bill Whitehead, president of the Australian Sheepmeat Council, has said he believes the report signifies a US decision not to end the import tariffs.

SOUTH KOREA: Meat producers still using animal remains in feed are risking BSE outbreak

Meat producers in South Korea are flirting with BSE danger, according to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry. The warning came in the wake of the revelation that animal remains had been used in the production of cattle feed.

Many believe that there is a direct link between the transmission of mad cow disease and the use of animal cadavers in cattle feed.

Around 300 cattle from the 315 that ate the potentially dangerous feed have already been sold for human consumption, raising further issues concerning the possibility of vCJD spread, the devastating human brain wasting disease thought be contracted after the consumption of BSE infected meat.

Officials have so far uncovered several instances of farmers using livestock feed containing animal remains, despite the fact that imports of the feed are being banned. The ministry believes that this is due to the 1998 currency crisis that rocked the Korean economy and caused huge inflation, leaving many farmers unable to purchase new feed supplies.

At a news conference today (5 February) meanwhile, agriculture-forestry minister Han Kap-soo stressed that despite a test of 3,000 domestic-bred cattle since 1996, no instances of BSE have been discovered.