The Taipei City Government’s Department of Health yesterday said it was making continuous efforts to ban the use of US beef containing ractopamine residue in restaurants, after a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor accused a major US beef importer of providing banned products to a Japanese barbecue chain restaurant.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) yesterday made a spot check at a branch of Japanese barbecue chain restaurant -Nanajyoutatsu on Dunhua N Road and said the restaurant continued to use US beef imported by Taipei-based Shusen Corp, a major beef importer that provides beef to several steakhouse chains, including My Home Steak and Noble Family Steakhouse.
Shusen Corp has been fined about NT$1.2 million (US$30,000) by the department since February for importing and selling meat products containing the livestock feed additive.
“Shusen Corp continues to import problematic US beef containing the additive despite the big fines, and the Japanese barbecue chain restaurant is one of its many customers who use the products. The department should strengthen the spot checks from beef importers to restaurants to ensure public safety,” Wang said.
Wang said the city government should address concerns about US beef, especially after a new case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was discovered in the US this week.
Department Commissioner Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏) said the agency has been focusing inspections on US beef importers to prevent any use of beef products containing ractopamine residue in local restaurants and shops.
The department has also been encouraging restaurants and shops to offer detailed information about their beef products as part of government efforts to strengthen a food labeling system for both imported and domestic food products.