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Taiwan to Allow Ractopamine Beef Imports

22 August 2012

TAIWAN - Taiwan has announced that it will open the country's doors to imported beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug, ractopamine, in beef imports as early as September.

Focus Taiwan reports that the government showed a preview of the official notice last week.

The preview is aimed at allowing members of the public to express their opinions on the measures.

It is expected the new regulation will take effect by mid-September.

The department has capped the maximum residue limit for ractopamine in beef at 10 parts per billion (ppb), said a government representative. He added that over the next 14 days, opinions from the public can be submitted, which he said "will be taken into consideration" by the department.

He did not rule out the possibility of re-evaluating the standard for ractopamine residue, but admitted that "the chances are slim."

The government made a thorough evaluation and solicited professional opinions on the issue before announcing the lifting of its ban on the leanness-enhancing drug used as a livestock feed additive in some countries, he added.

Countries such as Japan and South Korea have also set 10 ppb residue standards for their beef imports.

The public can also express views on regulations related to the labelling of the origin of beef imports within the following week.

Under the new regulations, places serving beef, including restaurants and food stands, must clearly label the origin of the beef they are using, according to the department.

Packaged foods such as instant noodles and beef jerky, as well as loose beef products, should also be labeled with point of origin, it added.

After official notice of the new regulations are formally announced, Kang said, the new measures are expected to come into force by mid-September.

The department will step up inspections of beef products on the market and in restaurants serving beef in the months following the announcement of the official notice, the spokesperson said.

"We aim to check 30,000 restaurants," he added.

Those who do not label the origin of beef products can face fines of between NT$30,000 (US$1,000) and NT$150,000, according to the department. Fines of between NT$40,000 and NT$200,000 could be imposed on those who use counterfeit labeling, it said.

Violators of the 10 ppb residue standard could face fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$6 million, the department said.

The government will also continue border inspections on every shipment of beef imported into Taiwan to ensure food safety.



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