Imports of cattle parts with risk of mad cow disease to remain banned


By Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Chih-chung and Matthew Mazzetta, Focus Taiwan



Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Parts of cattle that have a higher risk of harboring the agent that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, will remain banned when Taiwan eases its restrictions on imported American beef next year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Saturday.


Speaking at a press conference, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said cattle bones, brains, eyes, marrow, offal and ground beef will remain banned when Taiwan opens it market to beef from American cattle aged over 30 months on Jan. 1, 2021.


The ministry based its decision on the advice of an expert panel it convened on Tuesday, Chen said.


On the broader issue of American beef imports, Chen said Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had recommended dropping restrictions on beef from American cattle aged over 30 months in 2018.


In its report, the FDA noted that the U.S. was recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as having a "negligible" BSE risk status, and that its livestock monitoring systems and feed quality were among the best in the world, according to Chen.


On Aug. 28, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced that Taiwan would lift its ban on U.S. pork containing the leanness-enhancing feed additive ractopamine and U.S. beef aged over 30 months. She said Taiwan will set standards for the amount of ractopamine residue allowed in imported pork.


The lifting of the ban is an attempt to pave the way for an eventual trade deal with the United States.


Taiwan's policies on beef and pork imports...