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Taiwan Decides to Maintain Policy on US Beef Imports

24 July 2017

TAIWAN - Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Friday that the current policy on beef imports from the United States will remain in place, despite confirmation of a fifth case of mad cow disease earlier last week.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare convened a meeting of experts earlier in the day which concluded no policy adjustment is necessary, Minister Chen said.

"The experts evaluated the facts and concluded that the case should have no impact on Taiwan," Minister Chen said.

He explained that the experts had confirmed in the meeting that none of the 64 slaughterhouses that provide Taiwan with US beef products are in Alabama.

In addition, the infected cow was 11 years old, while Taiwan's beef imports from the US are limited to boneless and bone-in beef and specified meat products from cattle under 30 months, Minister Chen said.

Lastly, the cow was infected with the atypical type of mad cow disease, which is less serious than the typical strain, he added.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the cow in Alabama tested positive for the atypical strain of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

"This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States," the USDA said.

It was the fifth case of mad cow disease in the US this year, the USDA said, adding that of the four previous cases, the first was a case of classical BSE imported from Canada, while the others were atypical (H- or L-type) BSE.

Minister Chen said Taiwan will send personnel to the US on 24 July to gain a better understanding of the situation.

The opposition Kuomintang and People First Party lawmakers have urged the government to ban US beef imports in the wake of the latest mad cow disease case.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock



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