Wed, May 09, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese delegation begins US beef inspection visit

Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

A Taiwanese delegation visited the American Meat Institute and the Consumers Union on Monday on its first leg of a trip to inspect beef production in the US after a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, was reported in the country last month.

The delegation was briefed on meat production and sales in the US and was reassured that the the fourth case of BSE in California confirmed on April 24 was atypical, according to a statement released by Taiwan’s representative office in the US.

The institute also told the delegation about five control measures in the country’s beef supply chain, including import controls on cattle and bone meal from affected areas, cattle monitoring, a slaughter ban on 4D cattle (dead, down, distressed, diseased) and the removal of specified risk materials.

The institute said that the US has never reported any typical BSE cases. The last three cases were atypical L-type cases as occurred in Canada and Europe, while the first case was discovered in a cow imported from Canada.

Also on Monday, representatives from the Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, told the delegation it did not suggest avoiding US beef because no clear and direct scientific evidence indicated it was unsafe. The union only suggested that authorities step up food inspection to ensure meat safety, the statement said.

The representative office also confirmed that a meeting between the group and John Clifford, the US Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian, is scheduled for today after intensive contacts with the department. Tomorrow, the group will visit the National Veterinary Services Laboratories under the department in Iowa, the office confirmed.

However, it remains to be seen whether it will be able to visit slaughterhouses, feed processing plants and cattle farms in Texas and California as it requested.

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