The Taiwan Anti American Beef Alliance (TAABA) and the Consumers’ Foundation yesterday urged the government to implement emergency measures to deal with imported US beef and safeguard public health, following the first confirmed case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in the US since 2006.
Meanwhile, consumer groups urged consumers to purchase beef products with extra care, in particular high-risk beef products such as internal organs and bone-in beef.
Consumers’ Foundation chairperson Joann Su (蘇錦霞) voiced concerns over the government’s “three management and five checkpoint” measures put in place in November 2009 — referring to source management, border management and market management of imported US beef — saying the policy had long been flawed.
The government should immediately suspend all imports of US beef and inspect such products that have already entered the country to determine if they have been contaminated, Su said.
TAABA convener and president of the Homemakers’ United -Foundation, Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), said several civic groups had opposed lifting of the ban on US beef imports with feed addictive ractopamine residue because of their concern about mad cow disease.
Meanwhile, local academics called on the government to weigh the possible health risks posed by imported US beef against potential trade benefits.
Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital vice superintendent Chen Shun-sheng (陳順勝), a neurologist who took part in a risk assessment on mad cow disease, urged the Department of Health to re-evaluate the safety of US beef and beef products.
Chou Chin-cheng (周晉澄), dean and chairman of the Institute of Veterinary Clinical Science at National Taiwan University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said that in light of the ractopamine controversy and now the mad cow disease scare, the government should reconsider its trade negotiations with the US.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer