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First Import For US Beef Offal

21 April 2010

TAIWAN - The Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has issued the first import permit for 453 kilograms of US beef offal. In response to public concern, the health authority will conduct strict batch-by-batch inspections on US beef tongues, according to China Post, 20 April.

To help ease any lingering public doubt about US beef products, the Department of Health (DOH), the MOEA and the Council of Agriculture (COA) held a joint press conference earlier Monday to explain the existing standards, reports ChinaPost .

Six types of beef offal such as beef tongues, penises, testicles, tails, tendons and skirt (diaphragm) are not classified as internal organs, so imports of those non high-risk beef products will be accepted, they said.

Lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) argued that the beef tongues and penises should be classified as internal organs, which would make them illegal to import.

The DOH said it decided last May that beef tongues are not classified as internal organs — unlike thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic organs, which are not allowed into Taiwan under a protocol signed with Washington last October.

Hsu Tien-lai, director general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the COA, said that high-risk circumvallate papillae, toward the base of the tongue, are required to be removed from beef tongues before entering Taiwan.

The US announced on April 16 that exports of beef products to Taiwan will include bones with meat, hanging tenders, tongues, penises, testicles, tails, tendons and diaphragms from cattle younger than 30 months and slaughtered on or after April 1, seen as having a lower risk of carrying mad cow disease.

Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said at the economic committee session of the Legislative Yuan that the government will enforce strict measures, including “three controls and five certifications,” in accordance with the existing law, to assure imports of US beef products such as tongues and testicles are safe for consumers.

The measures set controls on beef imports at the source, at borders and in markets, while the five certifications refer to verifying certification documents, checking that shipments are marked with detailed product information, opening a high percentage of cartons of imported beef to check the product, conducting food safety tests and being able to get information on suspected problem products immediately.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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