Taiwan will send a second group to inspect the U.S. beef industry if necessary, following a recent case of mad cow disease there in April, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported on Monday quoting an agriculture official.
The Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) will not rule out any option, including sending another team to the U.S. this year or possible cooperative inspection trips with Japan and South Korea, COA Deputy Minister Hu Sing-hwa told a legislative panel, a day after a delegation returned from the U.S. saying that its beef products are safe to eat.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Huang Wei-che said the team's conclusion was questionable because the its inspection of nine slaughterhouses -- supplying 63 percent of Taiwan's imports of U.S. beef -- was rushed and tightly controlled by the U.S. authorities.
Responding to the statement, Hu said besides the slaughterhouses, the delegation had also checked several ranches, cattle feed manufacturing units and carcass processing plants.
Members of the delegation, comprising experts from different fields, pointed out problems on the spot and discussed them with the U.S. authorities, Hu said and added that the delegation had asked for a suspension of imports from a Kansas-based slaughterhouse where an oversight in its operational procedure for removing cattle tonsils was discovered.
Hu said the COA would follow relevant regulations under the Taiwan-U.S. beef protocol, while Watson Sung, head of the delegation, assured the public about the safety of U.S. beef at a separate press conference.
by RTT Staff Writer
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