Taiwan renews ban on U.S. beef imports

Taiwan announced on Wednesday it was lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports that was imposed last June after a cow in the U.S. was found infected with mad cow disease. In a statement on its Web site, the island's Department of Health said that an investigation had shown there was no danger to the population, and the import of beef could resume.

The U.S. office in Taiwan welcomed the announcement. "The U.S. government is taking stringent safeguard measures to ensure that U.S. beef continues to be completely safe," said a statement from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy on the island in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a brain-wasting ailment that in humans causes a variant form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease is a degenerative, fatal brain disorder that has killed more than 150 people, mostly in Britain, where there was an outbreak in the 1990s, reports the AP. N.U.