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Large Scale Meat Safety Tests Underway

20 March 2012, at 7:29am

TAIWAN - The Department of Health (DOH) and local health authorities will conduct its largest scale tests to date from March 20-22 to check for the leanness enhancing drug ractopamine in 1,000 products, including samples obtained from beef, pork, and geese, officials from the DOH's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said.

According to Focus Taiwan, a food safety crisis task force working under the Executive Yuan decided to expand the tests, and central and local health authorities will be testing 500 beef, 400 pork, and 100 geese samples, and will include products sold at malls, supermarkets, traditional markets and restaurants.

Product labels on imported meat will also be checked for accuracy, including whether the items are from the actual country claimed on labels, and distributors will be counseled to implement self-management, the DOH added.

The last nationwide inspection was carried out on March 5, in which 219 beef samples were tested for the meat additive ractopamine.

The decision was made after Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta met with top health officials from various cities and counties on Friday for an urgent meeting to lay out how the DOH will work with local governments to step up checks on leanness enhancers in meat products sold in shopping malls, supermarkets, traditional markets and restaurants.

Importers having past violations will have all their beef inspected, while the current system of a five per cent check will be maintained for those who have no such record.

From January 2012 to March 11, DOH tests found 36 ractopamine-tainted beef samples, out of a total sample of 219, and local health authorities have now destroyed 7,000 Kg of tainted beef.

In addition, the DOH has tested 98 pork products, but have not found any traces of ractopamine, and the department is still trying to confirm whether meat products sold by a food company contained traces of ractopamine.