Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei to force outlets to label US beef products

LABELED:Officials said new rules asking local restaurants, supermarkets and shops to use signs showing the origin of their beef products would be in place within a month

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin holds up a sign saying “This establishment uses US beef” at a press conference in Taipei yesterday. Taipei City’s Department of Health will soon announce a rule that shops and restaurants selling beef must display a country-of-origin sign in A4 format or larger.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taipei City Government will set up regulations to mandate the labeling of imported beef products as the legislature sets out to resolve a disputed beef import bill at an extra parliamentary session, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday, defending the central government’s US beef policy and urging the opposition to stop politicizing the issue.

“The Codex Alimentarius Commission has adopted maximum residue levels for ractopamine in beef of 10ppb [parts per billion] and there should be no food safety concerns. The opposition parties should stop politicizing the beef imports issue and resolve the problem as soon as possible,” he said at Taipei City Hall.

Lawmakers are scheduled to address the beef import issue today amid efforts by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to relax the ban on imports of beef containing traces of ractopamine by passing an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) during the four-day extra session that began yesterday.

Following the adoption of a maximum residue level for the feed additive in beef and pork by the commission earlier this month, the Ma administration is pressing to relax restrictions on US beef and calling on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to stop boycotting -legislative procedures.

By defending the government’s beef policy before the vote, Hau said the city was supporting the administration’s promise to follow the adopted maximum residue levels for ractopamine in beef, provide labeling on the origin of beef products, adopt separate permits for beef and pork, exclude the import of offal as well as require the labeling of beef products at local restaurants, supermarkets and meat vendors at traditional markets.

Food and Drug Division Director Chen Li-chi (陳立奇), said the department would finalize its regulations on a mechanism for food labeling within a month. The regulations would require local restaurants, supermarkets and shops to post clear signs specifying the origin of their beef products with labels that are A4 size or bigger.

Those who fail to post such labels would be subject to a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, while those who provide inaccurate information are liable to face fines of between NT$40,000 and NT$200,000.

Nobel Family Steak House vice chairman Stan Lin (林憲輝) said the company has already adopted a food labeling system at all its stores and offered ractopamine examination reports to customers every three months.

Hypermarket chain Carrefour’s national public affairs and services manager Margery Ho (何默真) said the firm had removed US beef products from its shelves at all stores since February, adding that all the store’s beef products are labeled to indicate place of origin.

Chen said the department conducts regular inspections on the levels of ractopamine in meat products every two weeks and would strengthen inspections after the beef ban is officially relaxed.

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