Govt Vows to Compensate, if US Beef Leads to Illness

TAIWAN - Following on from numerous campaigns in Taiwan to prevent the import of beef that has been produced using ractopamine, the government has announced that it will shoulder responsibility if there is anyone who falls ill because of food poisoning after eating US beef that contains the drug.
calendar icon 13 June 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Focus Taiwan reports that Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said that the imports of US beef containing ractopamine residues will be banned at once if there are consumers overseas or in Taiwan who are confirmed to have fallen sick from eating US beef, even if the residues are within approved levels.

Legislator Hsu Yao-chang of the ruling Kuomintang has proposed resolutions. The first being a resolution that will require that the government immediately stop US beef imports if there are consumers overseas or in Taiwan confirmed to have fallen ill after eating US beef containing ractopamine within the MRL level.

The other resolution stipulates that if there are local consumers affected by ractopamine-containing US beef, "the country must shoulder the full responsibility to look after the sick and assist them in seeking compensation."

In response, Minister Chiu stated that hundreds of millions of people in more than 20 countries around the world, including Japan, South Korea and the United States, eat US beef containing approved ractopamine residues. So far, no one has been reported to have developed symptoms of illnesses, he said.

Meanwhile, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou reiterated that strict MRL standards will be established based on Taiwanese people's dietary habits.

The Legislative Yuan has put the legislation of the so-called US beef bill on the agenda of the final five days of the plenary session before it enters its summer recess on June 15.

Meanwhile, in response to a request to label the ractopamine residue volume in every piece of imported US beef, Presidential Office spokesman Fang Chiang Tai-chi said such a proposal cannot be put into practice in real life.

Cattle metabolises ractopamine at different rates, he said. Moreover, ranches in the US have different ways of raising cattle. No importer can ask the US to detail ractopamine residues.

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