MarketWatch is reporting from its Hong Kong bureau today that health authorities there have suspended immediately all imports from Swift Beef Company due to shipments of meat with skeletal bones.

"Imports from the Swift Beef Company were suspended with 'immediate effect,' according to the airport office of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, citing a spot inspection of product from the company carried out Friday," the MarketWatch report said.

"The decision was made following discovery of beef imports with bones from that plant during inspections," a department spokesman said in a statement.

Hong Kong lifted its ban of U.S. beef imports partially in late December, permitting only boneless beef from animals younger than 30 months old.

The U.S. meat processing plant that made the ineligible shipment to Hong Kong is certified by the USDA as eligible for overseas shipment, including Hong Kong and Japan, Market Watch said.

Hong Kong was the fifth-largest market for U.S. beef products in 2003.

SOURCE: MarketWatch article by Chris Oliver.