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Taiwan stricter than South Korea on U.S. beef imports

Taiwan stricter than South Korea on U.S. beef imports

Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi said Tuesday that Taiwan has applied standards that are stricter than those of South Korea on U.S. beef imports and denied that the government has taken a weaker stance on the issue.
"The offers we were seeking while discussing the beef imports with the U.S. were the same as or better than those sought by South Korea, " said Wang, in response to a question from an opposition legislator.
A day earlier, in a rare rebuke of the central government, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin voiced outright opposition to the government's decision to allow imports of U.S. beef offal, ground beef and spinal cords, saying the city government will take steps to boycott the decision by encouraging the city's 15,000 hotels, department stores, hypermarts and restaurants to form an alliance whose members will reject sale of such products or their use as ingredients, over health concerns.
Commenting on the boycott plan, Wang said that if Hau and other local governments are aiming to protect public health, "our stance is actually the same." Meanwhile, Lee Ching-lung, former Minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Taiwan has been wrongly classified by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as a "controlled risk" country for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) , or mad cow disease.
"Taiwan has no mad cow disease, so should not be classified as a controlled risk country just because it imports U.S. beef, " Lee said at a press conference held by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Lee added that only 0.12 percent of U.S. cattle are screened for mad cow disease before slaughter -- much lower than the rate of 33 percent in the European Union and 100 percent in Japan.
DPP whip Wang Hsing-nan said the DPP will propose that the government resume talks with the U.S. on beef imports, and that all imports of U.S. beef products should be approved by the Legislative Yuan before implementation.
In addition, Control Yuan ombudsman Cheng Jen-hung said he will start an investigation on his own accord into the government's decision to lift its partial ban on U.S. beef imports.
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 an accord the previous day in Washington, D.C., to lift the ban.
Under the terms of the new accord, U.S. bone-in beef, ground beef, intestines, brains, spinal cords and processed beef from cattle younger than 30 months that have not been contaminated with " specific risk materials" will be allowed to enter Taiwan starting Nov. 10.
Specific risk materials are defined in the protocol as brains, skulls, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cords, vertebral columns and dorsal root ganglia from cattle 30 months of age and older, or tonsils and the distal ileum of the small intestine from cattle of all ages.
At present, Taiwan only allows imports of U.S. boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months that contain no such risky materials.
The new market opening decision has drawn flak from opposition parties and consumer rights activists.
(By Garfie Li, Kelven Huang and Fanny Liu)




Updated : 2021-04-16 11:15 GMT+08:00