WASHINGTON — An age-verification Quality System Assessment (Q.S.A.) Program should be created for Taiwan by the U.S. government to ensure accessibility to U.S. beef products, stated a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed by the American Meat Institute, U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Meat Association.

The letter was sent in response to the Oct. 22 announcement by Taiwan that it would expand access to its market to permit imports of U.S. beef and beef products consistent with the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.).

"While U.S. exporters are confident that all beef and beef products produced in the U.S. are safe regardless of age, the U.S. beef exporting industry is prepared to temporarily limit beef exports to Taiwan to products from cattle less than 30 months of age under a program verified by U.S.D.A. as a transitional measure to ensure an orderly expansion to a full market opening," wrote J. Patrick Boyle, A.M.I. president; Philip Seng, U.S.M.E.F. president and chief executive officer; and Barry Carpenter, N.M.A. c.e.o. and executive director.

As soon as the "Protocol of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy-Related Measures for the Importation of Beef and Beef Products for Human Consumption from the Territory of the Authorities Represented by the American Institute in Taiwan (A.I.T.)," which allows for expansion of market access for U.S. beef, becomes effective, the age-verification program should be developed and put in place, the letter stated. The letter further noted U.S.D.A.’s Agriculture Marketing Service has confirmed it is taking the steps necessary to establish the Q.S.A. program.


here to read the letter.