U.S. beef will not be served at Taiwan's military bases: official

Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) U.S. beef and beef products are not expected to appear on tables at the nation's military bases, at least not before the end of 2010, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday.
The MND recently signed contracts with suppliers of frozen beef from Australia and New Zealand and those contracts will not expire until the end of 2010, said MND spokesman Yu Sy-tue.
"It means that the MND will not buy U.S. beef during that period," Yu said.
The MND will continue to pay attention to the origin of meat products that are served at military bases, which have a combined population of over 200,000 people, and will also carry out random inspection of meat products in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and other relevant government agencies, he added.
Meanwhile, Yang Chiu-hsing, magistrate of the southern county of Kaohsiung, issued a directive Tuesday for the exclusion of U.S.
ground beef and offal from meals at the county's schools. The order came on the heels of a recent decision by the central government to allow the importation of U.S. bone-in beef, offal, ground beef and spinal cords with effect from next month.
Yang also instructed Kaohsiung county government officials to make sure that beef and beef products in restaurants and supermarket chain stores in Kaohsiung County are properly labeled to show the country of origin. Yang dissuaded Kaohsiung residents from consuming U.S. bone-in beef, ground beef and offal, saying this is a health precaution.
The Cabinet-level Department of Health (DOH) announced Oct. 23 that Taiwan would expand market access for U.S. beef, after officials of the two countries clinched a protocol the previous day in Washington, D.C. to lift a partial ban on U.S. beef imports.
Under the terms of the new protocol, U.S. bone-in beef, ground beef, intestines, brains, spinal cords and processed beef, from cattle younger than 30 months and which have not been contaminated with specific risk materials (SRMs), will be allowed to enter Taiwan starting Nov. 10.
At present, Taiwan only allows imports of U.S. boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months and which contain no SRMs.
Yang said he hopes that the Legislative Yuan will vote against the DOH decision.
Huang Chih-chung, director of the Kaohsiung County Health Bureau, said the United States was declared an affected area of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in 2003 and the declaration has not been lifted since.
He said the BSE protein is difficult to detect and cannot be completely destroyed by cooking. Ground beef, offal, brains and spinal cords are at high risk for contamination with the BSE protein, he said.
Mad cow disease has a long incubation period and infected patients usually shows no symptoms in the initial stage, he said, adding that diagnosis could take three or five years. "So far, the disease is incurable," he noted.
(By Lee Shu-hua, Chen Shou-gow and Deborah Kuo)

Updated : 2021-04-13 15:08 GMT+08:00