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January 25, 2006
Taiwan lifts US beef ban, sets conditions

Taiwan's Department of Health on Wednesday conditionally lifted a ban on the import of US beef, allowing the meat back into the market for the first time since the restriction was imposed last June due to mad cow disease.

The decision, which is effective immediately, comes just over a week after health officials said a panel of Taiwan experts had determined US beef to be safe to eat, fuelling a government consensus to lift the ban.

The department said in a statement only boneless beef from slaughterhouses and packing firms certified by the US Department of Agriculture and taken from cattle aged under 30 months would be allowed in.

The meat could also not contain any so-called specified risk material, such as brain or spine material, which is considered at risk of carrying the brain-wasting disease.

Taiwan, previously the sixth-largest market for US beef by value, imported around $76.5 million of US beef in 2003 prior to the implementation of an original ban in December of that year when it joined countries around the globe in barring US beef.

The government had lifted that ban in April last year, only to reinstate the restriction a few months later following the discovery of a second case of the disease in the United States.

Taiwan's decision comes after former top US beef importer Japan, which only recently its own ban last year, reimposed restrictions last week following the discovery of restricted spinal material in a New York shipment of veal.

Source : DNA India