After 18 months of restricted trade due to the presence of animal feed additive residue in US beef, Taiwan’s legislature has passed a decision on 25 July that allows imports of US beef containing a small amount of livestock feed additives.
Reportedly, Taiwan will allow up to 10 parts per billion of Ractopamine in beef, a feed additive that is used to promote leanness in livestock.
The maximum residue level (MRL) is on par with the level recommended by the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius Commission earlier this month, although it falls below the 30 parts per billion limit allowed in the US.
Taiwan’s beef bill advises that in the initial state of resumption, the Department of Health must conduct lot-by-lot border inspections and strengthen market supervision to ensure that traces of Ractopamine is below the MRL.
Taiwan’s legislature also states that mandatory labelling of the meat product’s country of origin will be strictly enforced, alongside the National Health Research Institute’s ongoing monitoring of the public’s long-term health.
In light of Taiwan’s patterns of consumption, the adjusted MRL for Ractopamine will be subject to beef and will not be applied to beef offal or pork.
Before the first detection of US beef containing Ractopamine in January 2011, Taiwan was the fifth largest market of US beef exports, both in volume and value terms.
In 2011, Taiwan ranked as the eighth largest market for US beef in volume terms and seventh in value terms, as the restriction on US beef impacted trade.
During the first five months of 2012, the US exported 6,097 tonnes swt of beef to Taiwan, down 54% year-on-year and 45% below the five-year average.
While the lifting of Taiwan’s MRL on Ractopamine in US beef is expected to assist exports to the market, Taiwan’s considerably lower MRL relative to US’s standard, combined with the tight lean beef supplies in the US domestic market is anticipated to see US shipments to Taiwan below the level prior to 2011.
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