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Monday, June 27, 2005 - International News: Taiwanese stock up on American beef as ``Mad Cow'' ban takes effect - International News: Taiwanese stock up on American beef as ``Mad Cow'' ban takes effect

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Taiwanese stock up on American beef as ``Mad Cow'' ban takes effect
By Associated Press
Sunday, June 26, 2005 - Updated: 11:30 AM EST

TAIPEI, Taiwan - After the U.S. confirmed its second mad cow case, Taiwan's authorities swiftly banned beef imports. But consumers didn't seem as worried: Scores flocked to supermarkets, wholesale outlets and butcher shops Sunday, stocking up on sale-priced cuts before they disappear.
On Saturday Premier Frank Hsieh ordered an immediate ban on all U.S. beef imports after tests confirmed that an American animal was infected with mad cow disease.
The Taiwanese action came two months after the island of 23 million people removed an earlier ban imposed in February 2004, following the discovery of the disease in a Washington state heifer - and stores here had just started carrying and advertising American beef.

On Sunday many Taiwanese supermarkets and other food outlets had already removed U.S. beef from their shelves, though Hsieh's action did not compel them to do so.
In one downtown Taipei store, American supplies had been replaced by meat from Australia - bearing special labels attesting to their authenticity - even though promotional signs touting the virtues of the U.S. beef had not yet been taken down.
In other stores, remaining supplies of American meat were being offered at reduced prices, drawing scores of enthusiastic shoppers.
One woman, who did not identify herself, said she was not put off by the government ban on importing beef from the U.S. ``I see lots of other people buying it so I think there's no reason I shouldn't buy it myself,'' she said.
Another man said it would be difficult to break the habit of buying American beef.
``We really like to eat it, and buy quite a bit,'' he said.
In the year before the February 2004 ban on American beef, Taiwan imported more than $76 million worth of beef, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That amounts to about 5 percent of the biggest foreign market for U.S. beef, Japan, which still has not resumed beef imports. Japan imported more than $1.5 billion in U.S. beef in 2003, according to the department.

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