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AIT offers reassurance on safety of U.S. beef

AIT offers reassurance on safety of U.S. beef

Taipei, Oct. 27 (CNA) The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) touted the safety of U.S. beef Tuesday after a recent Taiwan-U.S.
agreement to open the Taiwan market wider to U.S. beef imports sparked a bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease scare among local consumers.
William Stanton, director of the AIT's Taipei Office, told reporters that such concern is unnecessary because the meat has been certified by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as safe to consume.
While more than 50 countries and regions, including the European Union, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines, have already established similar liberalization protocols with the United States, nobody in any of those countries have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating U.S. beef, Stanton said.
Also, he continued, since 1997there have not been any cases of BSE recorded among U.S. cattle, which totals more than 9.4 million head.
According to Stanton, riding a motorcycle in Taiwan is much more dangerous than eating U.S. beef, given the fact that 1,034 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2008 alone.
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 risky 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.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Wang Chun-chuan, director-general of the Department of Physical Education under the Ministry of Education, said the ministry will not encourage schools around the country to use U.S. beef when preparing meals for students until its safety is certified by the health authorities, while Kaohsiung Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing said schools in the county will be forbidden from preparing meals with U.S. ground beef or offal.
Yang also demanded that restaurants and supermarkets disclose the origin of their beef products to allow consumers to make their own choices.
Expressing strong opposition to the liberalization move, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin a day earlier encouraged the city's 15,000 hotels, department stores, hypermarts and restaurants to form an alliance to reject the sale of U.S. beef offal, ground beef and spinal cords or their use as ingredients.
(By Sinyao Shih and Y.F. Low)




Updated : 2021-07-26 06:52 GMT+08:00