October 2, 2012
As the locally-based RT-Mart has decided not to sell US beef containing ractopamine, such beef has hit the shelves of the major hypermarkets in Taiwan, including Carrefour and Costco.
US beef products are between 10-20% more expensive than products from New Zealand and Australia, with chuck short ribs selling for TWD550 (US$18.8) per kilogramme, rib fingers for TWD450 (US$15) per kilogramme and boneless short plate ribs for TWD820 (US$28) per kilogramme, according to Carrefour, which started selling US beef on Sunday (Sep 30).
Imports of US beef remain small for now, but some customers have been buying beef for barbecues to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, the French retailer said. Sales figures will not be available for another one or two weeks, it added.
US warehouse club operator Costco has allowed individual stores to sell small amounts of beef to test the market and evaluate consumer demand.
Taiwan's Legislature passed amendments to the food safety act in late July lifting the ban on beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, opening the way for US beef imports containing limited amounts of the livestock feed additive.