Wed, Mar 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Poll highlights consumers’ concerns over US beef

Staff Writer, with CNA

More than 70 percent of respondents to a recent poll expressed concern over the import of US beef containing the banned feed additive ractopamine, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday.

The foundation highlighted the survey while calling for the establishment of a food labeling system and a compensation fund for consumers to ensure food safety.

Foundation secretary-general Chen Chih-yi (陳智義) said the majority of those polled disagreed with the government’s stance, which it announced on March 5, of leaning toward lifting the ban on US beef imports laced with ractopamine.

More than 26 percent said they were concerned that they did not know if the beef they were purchasing contained ractopamine, Chen cited the poll as showing.

Chen expressed doubt about the current food monitoring system and the government’s ability to look after the public’s health, citing its handling of the melamine-tainted milk powder and plasticizer scandals.

The foundation, which checked 50 restaurants nationwide in March 2010 during the mad cow disease scare, said it found that 52 percent of eateries could not provide accurate labels of the countries of origin of their beef products.

In addition, 50 percent of the restaurants that served US beef could not provide food labels, while 26 percent surveyed could not show certification for their meat products, Chen said.

Because of this, the foundation urged the government to follow Japan’s lead and pass a sanitation law and establish a food labeling system for both imported and domestic food products.

Chen said the foundation sent a draft proposal of legislation to help better protect consumers’ rights to the legislature in October last year, and he expressed hope that the government would review it soon.

The online survey cited by the foundation was conducted by the 104 Market Research Center from March 6 to March 9. It collected 1,575 valid responses, had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.47 percentage points.

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