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Ma asks Cabinet to work out solution to beef import controversy

Ma asks Cabinet to work out solution to beef import controversy

Taipei, March 4 (CNA) President Ma said Sunday that the Cabinet has to work out measures that would take care of public health on one hand while ensuring the country's industrial development, trade and economic relations with foreign countries on the other. Ma made the instructions at a national security meeting on controversial beef imports from the United States -- the second such meeting in less than one month, said Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Ti-chi at the meeting. President Ma has reiterated that the government will not sacrifice people's health for any economic or diplomatic benefits, Fan Chiang said. Taiwan has been reportedly under pressure from Washington to open its market to U.S. beef exports containing ractopamine -- a leanness-enhancing drug that is allowed in the U.S. but banned in Taiwan. Public outcries mounted after ractopamine-tainted U.S. beef was found in several super markets and restaurants nationwide last week. Department of Health (DOH) Minister Chiu Wen-ta said at the meeting that his department will strengthen control measures on imports of beef that contain residues of ractopamine, including improving border controls and regulating meat markets. The beef import procedures, coined by government as the "three controls and five checks" mechanism, will be reinforced by local health bureaus by improving inspections and management of meat sources, Chiu said. The DOH has formed a special committee to discuss the U.S. beef import issue; it will be holding meetings every two days with experts to assess the safety of ractopamine residues in beef, said Chiu. The Council of Agriculture reported that experts gathered a day earlier on the U.S. beef imports concluded that "no large scale scientific studies have been conducted domestically or internationally on the safety of human consumption of ractopamine, and no reports of ractopamine poisoning have been found," Fan Chiang added. (By Lee Shu-hua and C.J. Lin)


Updated : 2021-05-07 14:12 GMT+08:00