Health officials began visiting markets, restaurants and supermarkets around the country yesterday to check that beef products are clearly labeled with their country of origin, marking the first day of the labeling measure’s implementation.
Starting yesterday, all beef retailers, as well as restaurants and food vendors that use beef, are required to label the source of their beef.
The scope of the measure will be expanded to cover packaged food containing beef, such as beef jerky and instant noodles, from Sept. 20. The first two months of inspections will be a sort of grace period, after which violators will be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 if they fail to comply with the regulations.
The government will also use the two-month operation to raise awareness about the new policy, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said.
The labeling policy was adopted in conjunction with the easing of a ban on US beef containing traces of leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, with the goal of allowing consumers to decide for themselves what beef they want to buy.
The government has set a maximum allowable ractopamine residue level of 10 parts per billion.
Pan Chih-kuan (潘志寬), director of the FDA’s Northern Center for Regional Administration, said that since the ban was officially eased on Tuesday, the FDA has received three applications to import US beef, for a total of 39 tonnes.
Test results on the newest shipments were expected to be made available in three days, he said.