Taiwanese protest US beef import plan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Scores of Taiwanese protested Wednesday against a government plan to allow the import of U.S. beef containing a growth additive.

The protesters gathered outside the Cabinet building in Taipei questioned government assurances that U.S. beef treated with ractopamine is harmless.

The import plan has stirred a storm. Opposition lawmakers demanded that Premier Sean Chen resign for bowing to U.S. pressure. The European Union and China have banned the beef products.

Lawmakers question if supermarkets, restaurants and food stalls could properly label the U.S. beef as required. About 20,000 pig and cow farmers plan to stage a protest Thursday.

Taiwan banned all US beef imports in 2003 over concerns about mad cow disease but permitted boneless beef imports in 2006.

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