Taiwan mulls to accept US beef with additive
Updated: 2012-03-06 22:15
TAIPEI - Taiwan's executive authority has announced a plan to conditionally lift a ban on the import of US beef that contains a lean meat-growth stimulant, local media reported Tuesday.
Despite the controversy regarding the import of US beef containing ractopamine, a feed additive used to promote lean meat growth in animals, the executive authority proposed on Monday a plan to accept US beef on the basis of a four-point principle, which is pending legislature's approval, according to the reports.
The principles allow "a safe level of ractopamine in beef, separating the permits for beef and pork imports, requiring labels on beef imports, and excluding imports of offal," media reports quoted Philip Yang, spokesman with the executive authority, as saying.
A timetable has not been set for the lifting of the ban and will be further discussed, according to Yang. He noted that the executive authority will communicate with the legislative authority over the conditional acceptance.
According to Yang, the decision was made after soliciting experts' suggestions during three meetings over the past three weeks.
Experts have found no evidence showing consumers' health being affected after eating beef containing ractopamine residues, which is allowed in animal feed in more than 20 countries that include the US, but is banned in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, to protect Taiwan's livestock industry, the executive authority decided to maintain the ban on the import of pork that contains any leanness-enhancing stimulant including ractopamine.
All beef products are required to label their origin, among other details, so that consumers can make their own choices, Yang said, adding Taiwan's executive authority will consult countries regarding the maximum levels of ractopamine residues allowed in beef.
If residues of ractopamine in beef is proved by any scientific evidence or food incidents as harmful to health, the executive authority will "immediately ban" the import of all related products, the spokesman quoted Sean Chen, chief of the executive authority, as saying.