Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan ate US beef in front of reporters, offering his guarantee that the beef was "100% safe" to eat despite concerns over a possible new outbreak of BSE disease in the US, according to the Taipei Times.

"American beef is 100-percent safe," Paal said in Mandarin, eating slices of beef for the benefit of the cameras during the opening ceremony of the 2005 Taipei International Food Show on Thursday morning.

It was the first time that Paal had appeared before the media in Taiwan to promote a commercial product.

The cabinet has allowed US beef back into the country since last month after a lock-out of 15 months, the paper said. However, other Asian nations still ban US beef because of concerns over mad-cow disease.

Since last week, the cabinet has received a large number of complaints from the public, many of whom suggested that it was trying to please the US government by allowing its beef to be imported despite the continuing possibility of infection.

During a press conference on Wednesday, cabinet spokesman Cho Jung-tai said that US beef was safe to eat because all of that which had been imported was boneless meat from cows younger than 30 months.

"The result of experiments have told us that it is OK to eat the beef," he said. Pall said in a statement that the return of US beef demonstrated the "excellent working relationship and cooperation" that exists between the Taiwanese authorities and the US Department of Agriculture. "While there has been a lot of media attention to the safety of beef this week, the simple fact is that American beef exported to Taiwan has been and continues to be 100%," Paal said.