SEOUL – South Korea's food ministry said the country plans to end its zero-tolerance policy on zilpaterol early next year, according to a Reuters report.

The ministry reported that a government risk assessment found the drug could be permissible at certain levels. MSD Animal Health Korea conducted the assessment. MSD is a subsidiary of Merck & Co., which manufactures Zilmax via Merck Animal Health.

South Korea suspended some imports of US beef supplied by Greeley, Colo.-based JBS USA, after zilpaterol was found in the meat. South Korea is one of many Asian countries that have banned feed additives such as zilpaterol. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange ended delivery of cattle fed Zilmax, and Cargill recently announced a ban on cattle fed the drug. Merck Animal Health temporarily halted sales of Zilmax in the United States Canada pending a scientific audit that will monitor the process of feeding Zilmax to cattle.