Taiwan Retailers voluntarily removing US beef from shelves amid mad cow fears

More in our continuing coverage of mad cow disease panic.

Taipei Times reporting that some retailers are voluntarily removing American beef from their shelves following the recent announcement of a second confirmed case of BSE (mad cow disease) in an American animal.

Some local supermarkets and those in Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越), Breeze Center (微風廣場) and Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) have echoed the Consumers’ Foundation’s (消基會) call to halt the sale of US beef.

However, other major retailers, including Carrefour, RT-Mart (大潤發), Tesco and Costco, have claimed they will abide by the government regulations and continue to sell their stock of US beef. Removing beef products will lead to immense financial losses given US beef’s dominance in the market.

Costco, the nation’s largest importer of US beef, has sold an average of 22.5 tonnes of US beef, or NT$10 million (US$320,000), per week since the import ban as lifted on April 16.

No word yet on whether Yoshinoya Taiwan will be continuing to use imported American beef. I just found an actual 24 hour open Yoshinoya only a few minutes bike ride from my apartment (and next door to a Mos Burger!), so as long as they serve gyudon I’ll be eating there, regardless of this irrational fear resulting from isolated cases. BSE is certainly worth being scared of-a terrifying disease where your brain basically rots in your skill-but so far there’s no evidence that anyone has actually eaten meat from an infected US animal, in contrast to the genuine outbreak in Britain several years ago in which dozens of people died.

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