The Department of Health yesterday urged the US government to shape up its beef imports after the Bureau of Food Safety discovered a shipment of US beef contained chips of bone.
Taiwan limits US imports -- accepting only boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age -- because of mad cow disease concerns.
The shipment from Colorado's Swift Beef Company was checked at Keelung Harbor yesterday. All shipments from the Colorado company have been suspended pending investigation, the department said.
The department said the shipment did not contain any cow parts considered "high risk," such as brain, eye or spinal tissue, adding that there was no need to pull US beef from store shelves.
The incident marked the third time bone chips have been found in US beef imports since the re-opening of the local market to beef from that country.
Last Wednesday, the department said it had rejected a shipment of US beef because of the discovery of five bone chips.
Department officials said bone chips ranging between 0.7cm and 2cm wide were found during an inspection at Taichung Harbor in the shipment of 18,349kg of frozen beef from the Cargill slaughtering and processing company in Nebraska.
The department said it would urge US authorities to ensure better quality control.
In April last year, a shipment from another US company was rejected after quarantine officials at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport found it contained bone chips.
Taiwan banned beef imports from the US in December 2003 after the discovery in Washington state of a single case of mad cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.
In April 2005, it lifted the ban, accepting only boneless beef. The ban was imposed again from June 25, 2005, to Jan. 25 of last year because of a second confirmed case of mad cow disease in the US.
Taiwan imports 20 percent of its beef from the US.