Archive for the ‘Taiwan’ Tag

Why did the Taiwanese man eat cow dung?

As what I posted last week, “Taiwan lifts ban on U.S. beef import”, Taiwanese feel disappointed about the government. Then several days ago, a Taiwanese man, zhenlin zhu, has shooting a video on eating cow dung hamburger to protest the import of American beef.

In this video, the man said, “Eating American beef is more poisonous than eating cow dung!” He made a hamburger with cow dung, and then said:” I’m sure that this Taiwanese cow dung hamburger is absolutely safer than American beef, although it looks dirty.” After that, he swallowed the hamburger with a sad expression, and at last, what he wrote on the video is that:” I will use the painful of my body to warn the apathetic government!”

In this video, he said that, the government lift ban on the import of U.S. beef, which regardless of people’s health. You have no choice! Once the beef is imported, they will be everywhere!

Why are Taiwanese so afraid of it? From the comments I noticed that there are several reasons.

On one hand, the infectious agent in mad cow disease is a specific type of protein called a prion, but someone has one kind of gene, which will be immured to this protein. In Europe and America, 45% ~50% of people have this gene, while in Asia; only 4% of them have it.

On the other hand, Americans don’t eat the internal organs, where the prion proteins will aggregate, but Taiwanese people love to eat. And someone also concerned that the bones (After being grated) which will be used as part of feed of livestock, will cause contamination of food chain.

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Who will benefit from Taiwan lifts ban on U.S. beef import

AFP/File – A staff is seen packaging imported US beef for sale at a Taipei supermarket.

AFP/File – A staff is seen packaging imported US beef for sale at a Taipei supermarket.

Recently, the Taiwan government claims that Taiwan will lift ban on U.S. beef import, which is a six year long ban because of mad cow disease. Taiwan will improve the trade relation with the U.S. because of this.

The Taiwan department of health announced that U.S. bone-in beef entering Taiwan is “from cattle less than 30 months of age and meets other requirements”, and they will import all the part of cattle except the one which is in the high risk of mad cow diseases. That is, cattle parts such as brains, skulls, eyes, spinal nerve roots, tonsils and small intestines, as “particularly risky” and these items remain on lists of export or import bans.

But this new change still arouse the critics from Taiwanese consumers, they argued that the government are not concerned about people’s health.

From the health minister Yang Chih-liang, there will be two limitations for the import of U.S. beef. First, only bone-in beef from cattle less than 30 months old will be allowed to be imported. Second, Importers of US bone-in beef must have export permits and safety guarantees from the US Department of Agriculture.

In 2003, the U.S. broke out the first case of mad cow diseases, then Taiwan forbad the beef import from U.S. But after that, U.S. gave pressure to Taiwan government, to request the import again, reported by local media. And Taiwan also lifted a ban during these years. In that year, Japan, Korea ban US beef imports on mad cow fears.

Taiwan is the sixth large overseas market for U.S. . As far as I am concerned, the issue is not only related to the food safety and food consumes, but more likely a political one between U.S. and Taiwan. Will the people in Taiwan benefit from this? I think the government should clarify it to the people, or it not deserves to exchange people’s health with the political concerns.

Links:

Japan suspends beef imports from US plant

http://money.aol.com/article/japan-suspends-us-plants-beef-amid-mad/712384

 Thousands in S Korea beef protest

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7491482.stm