"The South Korean government contends that the lifting of the ban was overdue since last September, when the World Organization for Animal Health [OIE] ruled that American beef did not pose a health risk."
This quote is from today's NYT article on the protests over the import of American beef into South Korea. What the Times did not say is that the ruling was due to a CHANGE in the definition of what was a risk. A country was at risk unless seven years have passed without a Mad Cow discovery-- dated from the time of the discovery. The last Mad Cow in the US was in March 2006, not as the Times reported 2003. By this the US would be on the risk list until 2013. The NEW RULE dates the risk from the time of the birth of the cow. By changing the rule the US is no longer a high risk country.
People fear there is MAD COW in American beef and it is unreported due to the practically non-existent inspections in the US and the ban on private inspections even of one's own cows!
The Korean government is yet to back down (it is being told what to do by the Bush administration which is threatening negative trade consequences). This is a real democratic uprising by the Korean people.
Real democratic movements are the last thing the US and its allies want to see.