Taiwan should adopt international food safety standards: AIT


Source of Article: http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=803678&lang=eng_news



Central News Agency
2008-12-04 07:55 PM





The United States is urging Taiwan to adopt internationally consistent standards as quickly as possible in its development of food regulatory systems, American Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen M. Young said Thursday.

Young made the remarks during a speech titled "U.S. Taiwan Relations: Looking To The Future, Building On Past Achievements," at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan at the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei.

Noting that the overall value of U.S. agricultural exports to Taiwan has continued to grow for the sixth consecutive year, Young said, however, "the agricultural market access problems remain at the heart of our trade agenda."

He said that there are still major challenges ahead for the further opening of Taiwan's market to key U.S. agricultural products.

Nearly three years ago, Taiwan led Asia in re-opening its market to imports of U.S. boneless beef, and since then Taiwanese consumers have welcomed U.S. beef, buying US$107 million worth in 2007 alone, said Young.

However, he added, despite ample scientific evidence that the imports of U.S. "bone-in" beef pose no safety risk, they continue to be banned in Taiwan.

"Taiwanese consumers are confident that U.S. beef is safe", Young stated.

Calling for Taiwan to fully open its market to U.S. beef, Young reminded Taiwan that the transparent application of scientific principles consistent with established international norms is the best way to ensure food safety while facilitating trade.

"As Taiwan seeks to expand its role in the global community, it should also live up to its responsibilities as a member of that community," he advised.

He said that the U.S. understands that the Department of Health of Taiwan (DOH) will soon publish the findings of its risk assessments on the safety of U.S. beef products, adding that he hopes the results will bring the U.S. closer to the early, science-based opening of the market to the full range of U.S. beef products.

Taiwan banned U.S. beef in 2003 when a case of "bovine spongiform encephalopathy"(BSE), better known as mad cow disease, was diagnosed in Seattle. The ban was lifted in April 2005 to allow imports of U.S. de-boned beef from cattle under 30 months old, but the Taiwan government re-imposed the ban two months later when a second BSE case was discovered in the United States. The DOH didn't lift the ban until Jan.25, 2006.

Taiwan currently only allows the import of U.S. boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months, produced from certificated slaughterhouses and without high risk parts such as brains and spinal cord marrow.






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