An inspection of five beef exporters in the US last month determined that they did not procure beef from Alabama or slaughter any animals infected with mad cow disease, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said on Thursday.
The inspection was carried out in response to reports that a new strain of mad cow disease was discovered in Alabama last month, FDA section chief Wu Tsung-hsi (吳宗熹) said.
Responding to media queries about a South Korean news report that infected US beef might have entered the market there, Wu said thorough inspections were conducted in Taiwan after the disease was discovered.
There is no indication that infected US beef has been imported into the nation, he said.
He said Taiwan has strict criteria for US beef exporters and requires that they conduct extensive tests to ensure the safety of their products.
The criteria include an on-site veterinarian at the processing plants and examination of the animals before and after they are slaughtered, Chu said.
The FDA has contacted South Korean officials to obtain further information about the situation there, he said, adding that the report did not cite any South Korean government sources.
The Korea Times report, which was cited in an article in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Wednesday, said the concern over imports of infected US beef into South Korea was raised after the South Korean government received a letter from the US embassy in Seoul.
The letter, which was written by an unidentified US agricultural affairs official, said that a cow, which died on July 5 on the way to an Alabama slaughterhouse, was infected with mad cow disease, the Korea Times said.
The letter was revealed by South Korean lawyer Song Ki-ho of the Lawyers for a Democratic Society, who expressed concern about whether meat from other infected cows had already reached South Korean supermarket shelves.
Had the cow not died before it reached the slaughterhouse, its meat would have been exported, Song said.
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