Yonhap News Agency reports that more stringent measures are in the works, where on June 18th, the South Korean government will require restaurants and caterers to label where each cut of beef comes from prominently enough so that consumers can choose for themselves. In the case where something like a stew is made from beef from different countries, it has to state that “in detail.”
I don’t know what the “in detail” means beyond saying what country it’s from. Maybe they need to also state the country’s GNP and national bird or something?
For now, this will definitely prevent restaurants from purchasing American beef, on top of all the major supermarket chains proclaiming they won’t sell it. The question, like many issues in Korea, is will they enforce it?
The current climate is still poisoned against American beef, but more and more rationality in the media is slowly creeping in. I am of the mind right now that America should accept South Koreans’ calls to renegotiate the beef deal. The request to not import beef older than 30 months old is not a big request to make. Just go ahead and do it. Even though, in reality, it doesn’t change anyone’s susceptibility to mad cow disease, it gives the impression that America is working to make it safer for South Koreans. And that’s what is at the heart of the matter. People feel like big ol’ America is bullying South Korea around. Consciously come across as the gentle giant instead of the schoolyard bully, even if the latter reputation is undeserved.