China bans imports of US beef products
( 2003-12-26 01:27) (China Daily)
China yesterday announced an immediate ban on imports of US beef and beef-related products after the United States reported its first suspected case of mad cow disease.
The provisional ban took effect yesterday, but milk, dairy products, hide and gluten used in photography are not included on the list.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), who jointly issued the ban, urged all ports to stay alert for any suspected cases and strengthen quarantine work to prevent mad cow disease from entering China.
The two ministries ordered animal quarantine departments to strengthen their inspections of cows and bovine embryos imported in recent years from the United States.
Meanwhile, China announced to start blacklisting imported goods which have been repeatedly found to cause security or health problems, according to a national conference on inspection and quarantine held yesterday in Nanning, capital of Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Li Changjiang, head of the AQSIQ, told the conference that the administration plans to launch a blacklist system some time in 2004.
Such imported goods, as well as their producers, will be put on the blacklist or even publicized in the mass media if necessary, Li said.
The administration also plans to improve the registration system for major imported goods next year, and intensify inspection and quarantine especially for eight categories of imported goods, such as cotton, textiles and food made from animals.
US Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman on Tuesday announced the first suspected US case of the deadly mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopthy (BSE), found in a dairy cow in Washington State.
The single Holstein cow was tested as presumptive positive for BSE, and its brain and nervous system tissue -- considered at high risk of conveying BSE -- were said to have not entered the human food chain.
However, a Washington State official was quoted as saying earlier that other meat from the diseased cow may have already been consumed, possibly in the form of hamburgers.
Soon after the case was disclosed, Japan and South Korea, the top two buyers of US beef, have swiftly halted imports, as did a number of other countries and regions around the world, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
McDonald's outlets in China claimed that their beef all purchased from inside China, the Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday.
The two ministries had banned direct or indirect imports of birds and bird-related products from the Republic of Korea on Tuesday, since the country said it had confirmed a case of a highly contagious type of bird flu at a chicken farm near Seoul.
So far, no chickens imported from South Korea have been reported as suffering from bird flu, except for 13 kilograms of chicken, which was seized form a South Korean ship in Shanghai.
The China News Agency reported yesterday that the Shanghai quarantine department has sealed up all the chicken meat in disinfected containers.
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