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Taiwan seeking full information on mad cow case in U.S.

2012/04/25 20:59:13

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) The Taiwan government is asking the United States to provide full information on a case of mad cow disease that was discovered in California this week and will consider what action to take based on that information, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

The information should be obtainable within “a short period of time," government spokesman Philip Yang said.

Meanwhile, the government has stepped up customs inspection controlsto prevent banned U.S. beef products from entering Taiwan, he said.

His comments came after Premier Sean Chen met with officials from the Council of Agriculture and the Department of Health to discuss the mad-cow case.

The premier has asked officials from the two agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the information related to the case as soon as possible, Yang said.

Although the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has informed Taiwan of the mad cow case, more information is needed, Yang added.

The government is also monitoring international response to the case, which will be used as reference to formulate response measures, Yang said.

Japan has said it will continue monitoring the case but will not ban imports of U.S. beef, while South Korea plans to strengthen its quarantine measures but will also not prohibit beef imports from the U.S., Yang said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Tuesday the country’s fourth case of mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in a dead dairy cow at a rendering facility in central California.

The cow had died at one of the region's many dairies, but had not shown outward symptoms of the disease, U.S. authorities were reported as saying.

The animal was never a threat to the country’s food supply, the authorities said. The rendering facility processes animal carcasses to make non-edible products such as glue, according to U.S. media reports. It was the first reported case of mad cow disease in the U.S. since 2006.

Taiwan banned imports of all U.S. beef in 2003 and again in 2005 because of mad cow disease but since then has gradually re-opened its market to certain cuts of beef.

(By Elaine Hou)