"The Republic of Korea is an important partner and we welcome the opportunity to share information about the effective system we have in place for safeguarding against the risks posed by BSE," said USDA spokesman Matt Herrick.
While the group was not slated to visit the farm where the infected cow lived, the trip was expected to help the delegation understand how U.S. safeguards work. Government officials, academics and consumer group representatives are members of the delegation, scheduled to return home on May 9.
South Korea allows imports of beef from U.S. cattle under 30 months of age if high-risk materials are removed. Seoul banned U.S. beef after the first U.S. case in 2003 and re-opened its market in 2008. This time, it said it would strengthen its import inspections of U.S. beef until it got more information about U.S. practices to prevent mad cow.