US beef in Taiwan withdrawn after banned drug found
While Taiwan bans the lean-meat-enhancing chemical ractopamine, the health minister said low levels of ractopamine do not pose an immediate health hazard.
Taiwanese health authorities ordered stores to remove US beef products found to contain residue of a banned chemical, despite reassurances from the US that its beef products are safe.
The measure will ensure that such products are not consumed by the public until the results of a second round of mandatory tests is available, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Kang Jaw-jou said.
It was the first time that the feed additive Paylean, which promotes production of lean meat in cattle, had been detected in US beef since Taiwan reopened its doors to US beef in 2007, after suspending imports of the product amid concerns over mad cow disease.
Paylean contains ractopamine, one of four animal feed additives — along with salbutamol, terbu-taline and clenbuterol — that are banned in Taiwan.
Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that 1 to 2 parts per billion (ppb) of Paylean had been detected in three out of 24 imported beef products sold in hypermarkets in northern Taiwan. All three products came from the US.
In addition, Paylean levels of 5ppb were detected in each of two batches of US beef awaiting customs clearance. The importers decided to forfeit the beef.
Tsai Shu-chen, chief of the FDA’s food division, said that there are no other products in Taiwan from the same shipments as the three problem samples.
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