U.S. beef is back in Taiwan and 5-star hotels and restaurants are vying for a new “Platinum U.S. Beef” certification developed by USMEF that will set them apart from competing dining establishments.
Now that Taiwan has established a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine use in beef, the flow of U.S. product has resumed in earnest with imports reaching 877 metric tons (1.9 million pounds) in the week ending Oct. 4. While that’s still below peak levels, it is significantly better than July when Taiwan purchased only 172 metric tons (379,000 pounds) of American beef in the entire month.
“The Platinum U.S. Beef program will create a unique identity for top-quality U.S. beef and the restaurants that serve it,” said Davis Wu, USMEF-Taiwan director. “We will hand-pick the restaurants that earn the platinum designation to ensure that they meet the program’s requirements.”
Restaurants wishing to earn the platinum status must sign a contract stating that they offer either prime or choice U.S. beef, buy products from certified importers, label them as U.S. beef, and source a minimum of 50 percent of the restaurant’s beef from the United States.
Already USMEF has certified a number of leading hotels including the 5-star Taipei Regent, the Ambassador, the Victoria and the Grand Hi-Lai. Davis expects the number of certified restaurants will grow to 200 over the next two years, demonstrating the hotels’ and restaurants’ confidence in the quality and safety of U.S. beef and their desire to be identified with it.
USMEF will conduct random checks on the restaurants to ensure that they comply with the terms of the platinum agreement. Davis noted that USMEF will be developing separate identification programs for other beef outlets in Taiwan, including traditional wet markets. All certified participants will be identified on the USMEF-Taiwan website.
The Platinum Beef program has been featured by numerous media outlets throughout Taiwan. The China Times, United Daily News and Radio Taiwan International are a few of the outlets that covered last week’s unveiling of the program. Funding for the Platinum U.S. Beef program is provided through the Beef Checkoff Program.