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Taipei to impose mandatory ractopamine labeling: Hau

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday that since the Codex Alimentarius Commission (國際食品法典委員會) has already set a safety limit for ractopamine residue (10ppb), members of the opposition parties should let the U.S. beef issue come to a rest.

  Hau also said that the Taipei City Government will impose mandatory labeling on beef products containing ractopamine to allow consumers to make their own choices.

  When it comes to food safety, Hau maintained, it is a matter of quantity. For example, the mayor added, over consumption of salt and sugar is known to be detrimental to health, and that is why there are recommended levels of dietary intake with regard to sugar and salt. Similarly, Hau said, given that there is a safety limit for ractopamine residue, the city government will make sure that the standard is abided by.

  With regard to the U.S. beef issue, the mayor voiced his support for the central government's decision to set a safety standard, to separate beef and pork, to impose mandatory labeling and to exclude bovine offal.

  Hau urged the citizens of Taipei to be at ease, adding that the city government will do its best to protect their rights to know if the products they buy contain ractopamine, and their rights to choose whether or not to purchase products that contain ractopamine.

  When asked about the mayor's previous objections to U.S. beef, Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) replied that Hau was not opposed to U.S. beef imports per se, adding that the mayor was concerned over cases of mad cow disease; that is why he objected to importing bovine offal, minced meat and bone marrow, Chang maintained, adding that the mayor's stance on this particular issue has not changed. The current U.S. beef controversy pertains to the issue of ractopamine (not mad cow disease), the spokesman said.

  The mayor also said yesterday morning that if members of the food industry fail to label beef products containing ractopamine clearly, they could face a fine of up to NT$200,000. Hau also added that government officials will conduct inspections to root out potential violators.

  Representatives of Carrefour (家樂福) and Noble Family Steak House (貴族世家) also came out yesterday saying that they support mandatory labeling, and that their companies will comply with related regulations.

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