Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Officials demand safety endorsements for U.S. beef parts

Officials demand safety endorsements for U.S. beef parts

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) As the government prepares to open Taiwan's doors to U.S. beef byproducts, the head of the non-government Consumers' Foundation demanded Sunday that the policy-making officials and experts in favor of such imports endorse their safety for human consumption. The law says that "the relevant risks exist," foundation honorary chairman Hsieh Tien-jen (???), also a lawyer, said. If the relevant officials and experts, invited by the government to assess the risk of allowing imports of bone marrow, blood vessels, head meat, cheek meat, weasand and tallow from cattle from the United States, all think there is no health risk at all, they should give their endorsement to the products' safety, Hsieh contended. "They should face society in person and address precisely what they mean about the safety," Hsieh said. "Also, they should take full responsibility and guarantee that the products are absolutely problem-free." The consumers' rights activist made the demand after Economics Minister John Deng revealed earlier in the day that Taiwan will open to the American beef products once the respective governing bodies complete the administrative procedures for the proposed imports and then provide notice to the public of its move. According to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, Taiwan bans the import of internal cow organs from countries that have reported cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, over the past decade. The act states that Taiwan bans skulls, brains, eyes, spinal marrow, ground beef, viscera and other related products even from non-epidemic areas if those areas have had BSE or new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases in the past 10 years. Hsieh said the incubation period of mad cow disease is long and noted that the United States has been listed as a country with negligible BSE risk for less than 10 years. The Consumers' Foundation has criticized the government over moves to allow imports of several kinds of U.S. beef parts by labeling them as "not internal organs." It pointed out Feb. 13 that the Council of Agriculture said late last month the U.S. is still affected by BSE, and that according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), its status as an infected region will only be removed if there are no new cases for seven years. The foundation is worried that people consuming beef, milk and dairy made from infected beef will be at higher risk of contracting the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal neurological disease for which there is no cure and that is believed to be caused by consuming BSE-infected cow products. It argues that while the government mulls opening the six beef part categories, it should allow consumers to take part in the policymaking process. (By Yang Shu-min and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-28 02:52 GMT+08:00