First U.S. bone-in beef arrives in Taiwan

Jan 22, 2010
by DTN

Taiwan’s Department of Health (DOH) promised to conduct vigorous inspections of U.S. bone-in beef following the arrival of the first batch of six packages of U.S. meat last week.

Taiwan’s parliament voted to ban imports of some U.S. beef over concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

DOH Food and Drug Administration Director-General Jaw-Jou Kang personally attended the first inspection as the 167 kilograms (368 pounds) of U.S. T-bone steaks and ribs were being examined by officials from the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection, and Quarantine and customs agents, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The initial test results showed that the batch was qualified for import because it had quarantine and export papers attached and did not include ground beef and offal, which was banned last week by the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwanese parliament. The parliament’s action reversed a protocol signed by Taiwan and the U.S. on Oct. 23.

Officials were set to also inspect the beef in each of the six packages to ensure that the products are fully safe for consumption, Kang said. The entire examination will take about three days, and any of the meat found unacceptable will be shipped back to the U.S. or destroyed, he told CNA.

U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (USMEF) Taiwan office is the first to bring in U.S. bone-in beef, at a total amount of 212 kilos (467 pounds). USMEF Taiwan said the beef would mainly be consumed at the office’s Chinese year-end party, with the remainder sent to seven major hotels for testing by chefs, the Taipei Times reported.

The Grand Hyatt Taipei and Grand Formosa Regent Taipei said on Jan. 14 that they had not received an invitation from USMEF Taiwan. However, Luanne Li, Grand Hyatt’s director of marketing communications, told the Taipei Times the hotel’s diners would be able to try bone-in beef dishes if it receives supplies from the second batch of beef, due to arrive Jan. 22.

For the Grand Hyatt, the arrival of U.S. beef is a boon.

“The business potential is promising. There is a growing appetite for U.S. bone-in beef among consumers who love the juicy, excellent taste over beef from New Zealand and Australia,” Li said, the Taipei Times reported.

Formosa Regent Group Public Relations Director Ellen Chang said the hotel’s steakhouse, Robin’s Grill, had designed menus in December featuring grilled steaks of bone-in ribeyes, short ribs and T-bones. However, when that meat could hit the serving dishes depends on when the suppliers are able to provide them, Chang said, the Taipei Times reported.

“We have told our suppliers we would only accept the beef on the condition of them showing us a complete set of customs approving documents to make sure they pass safety standards,” she said, the Taipei Times reported. — DTN