Sun, Jul 29, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

US beef is unavoidable

So the mayor of Taipei is demanding that stores display the origin of their beef products to allay fears concerning the sale of US beef. Three things anger me about this story.

First, people just don’t want it. The public opinion polls on this have been very clear, and yet here it is.

Second, selling an imported product that would be illegal to produce in your own country just boggles the mind.

Finally, there is this persistent zombie lie that just keeps coming back, no matter how many times the critics have killed it. That lie is that you can avoid US beef. You can’t.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has forced most of its members to toe the party line on US beef.

Its response to angry constituents is: “If you don’t want it, don’t buy it!”

Good luck with that, I say. Sure, grocery stores will label their beef, but how trustworthy are they? I hope I don’t anger too many Taiwanese when I ask: Do you really trust the businesspeople of this country to be fair and honest brokers in this matters?

Sure, we can avoid buying it in the grocery store, but what about in restaurants and lunch boxes? US beef will be the cheapest beef. Factory-farmed meat pumped full of chemicals, hormones and any other substance will be cheaper than that produced by traditional farming methods without question. However, any food producer knows that labeling their product “Made with US beef” will be the kiss of death.

While I wish morals, honesty and a sense of civic duty would force food providers to just opt out of the conundrum, the truth is most will just take the path of least resistance, using cheap US beef and then lying about it.

For the thousands of school children who eat lunches made for profit by the lowest bidder at least once a day or more, I wish them the best of luck with Taiwan’s experiment to let in a dubious product in the hopes that no one will actually ever buy it.

Aaron Andrews

Taichung

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