Customs officials have seized a shipment of beef tongues from the US, after the product was found to contain a parasite that commonly infects animals, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday.
The beef tongues, infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, would be destroyed or returned to the US, the FDA said.
The shipment of about 1 tonne of beef tongues was supplied by a US company and was imported by a local restaurant, Frank’s Texas BBQ, which had applied for the import permit in November last year, it said.
It was the first time since 2012 that a parasite had been found in a shipment of beef tongues, said the FDA, which inspects food imports at the border.
It said it discovered the parasite when it was checking the tongues for lingual tonsils, which must be removed in all incoming beef shipments due to the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease.
All imports of US beef tongues are inspected batch by batch on arrival in Taiwan, FDA Northern Center division head Chen Ching-yu (陳慶裕) said.
Toxoplasma gondii infection rarely causes symptoms in most people with healthy immune systems, but some might develop flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph glands, the Centers for Disease Control has said.
However, in people with compromised immune systems, an infection could cause serious health problems, while some pregnant women might pass on the infection to their babies, the centers said.
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