Sun, Mar 11, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei set to burn 6,771kg of US beef

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

A retailer in Taipei’s Neihu District advertises Australian beef yesterday as the controversy over the leanness-enhancing animal feed additive ractopamine has prompted many retailers to stop selling US beef.

Photo: CNA

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Environmental Protection yesterday said it would burn more than 6,700kg of US beef containing ractopamine residue tomorrow to ensure that confiscated beef would not reach consumers.

The confiscated US beef, totaling 6,771 kg, is the first batch of US beef containing the banned feed additive to be destroyed in Taipei in wake of recent inspections of beef products.

According to Kuo Kuo-shin (郭國鑫), a division chief at the department, the beef was confiscated from Taipei-based Shusen Corp, a major beef importer that provides beef to several steakhouse chains, including My Home Steak and Noble Family Steakhouses, and the beef products are now being stored by the city’s Department of Health.

The Department of Environmental Protection will burn the beef products tomorrow morning at Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant.

“Some consumers are concerned about the whereabouts of the confiscated beef products and worried that the beef would somehow appear in the markets again. Destroying the beef products is aimed at easing their concerns,” he said.

The Taipei City Government will be the first local government to destroy US beef products confiscated for containing the feed additive. Kuo said the fee for destroying the beef products was about NT$12,400 (US$422), and the importers would foot the bill.

Local city governments began inspections of US beef last month in the wake of recent disputes over the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) plan to partially lift the ban on ractopamine in US beef products.

In Taipei, the Department of Health has conducted spot checks at 11 major hypermarkets and supermarkets since last month, and found beef containing ractopamine at the Neihu branches of RT Mart and Carrefour, after which the two hypermarkets immediately pulled all US beef products off the shelves.

Taipei Food and Drug Division Director Chen Li-chi (陳立奇) said the Department of Health had fined Shusen Corp NT$60,000 for importing and selling meat products containing the additive, and that it would continue spot checks on the company and other beef importers to implement the zero-tolerance policy on beef containing ractopamine until the government finalized its decision on the ban.

Under current regulations, local importers that import products containing ractopamine residue are subject to a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$6 million.

Kuo said the Department of Environmental Protection would continue to assist importers with handling the confiscated beef products, with incinerators in Muzha, Neihu and Beitou available for the burning of meat products.

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