Taiwan's health minister on Saturday offered to resign over the controversial decision to lift the ban on US beef on the bone despite mad cow disease concerns.
"Of course I will resign if there is a demand. I will take the responsibility," health minister Yang Chih-liang told reporters.
The health department announced Friday that it would allow imports of US bone-in beef and intestines in a move blasted by some lawmakers and consumer rights advocates.
The ruling Kuomintang caucus demanded Yang step down for lifting the ban without the parliament's consent and threatened to freeze the health department's budget.
Meanwhile, the Consumers' Foundation accused the government of bowing to pressure from Washington despite health risks and urged the authorities to put warning labels on US beef products.
Local media said the new measure would take effect in late October and the first shipment of US beef on the bone is expected to arrive in the island as early as November 10.
Taiwan banned US beef imports in December 2003 due to reports of mad cow disease in the country but opened up to boneless beef products in 2006.
Beef affected by the disease is feared to cause in humans a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Source: AFP Asian Edition