Taiwan: DoH proposal riles pig farmers
Taiwanese pig farmers have accused the Department of
Health (DoH) of planning to loosen restrictions on ractopamine content in pork
to open up the country to more imports of US pork, writes the Taipei
Legal in the US
Ractopamine, a feed additive marketed under the trade name Paylean, is
banned by the Council of Agriculture. The additive is, however, legal in the US
and many other countries.
At a public hearing held by representatives of
regional pig farmer associations, speakers urged the government to apply the
strictest standards on the legal limits of toxic chemicals in pork.
month, the DoH announced a draft amendment to the Method of Test for Veterinary
Drug Residues in Foods that would allow for 0.3 parts per million (ppm) of
ractopamine to be present in muscle tissue and 0.5ppm in organ tissue, said Pan
Lien-chou, president of the Swine Association.
ractopamine can result in cardiovascular diseases, including increased heart
rate and blood pressure, said Lin Ja-liang, director of clinical toxicology at
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. Pan accused the DoH of raising permissible levels
of the chemical in order to allow more pork to be imported from the
“We want 'zero detection,' no matter what kind of testing instrument
is used,” said Pan, adding that he was suspicious about the reasoning behind the
change to the current regulations. Pan said that he and other pig farmers would
“very likely” take to the streets in protest because they felt the government
“has not listened to us.”
In response, DoH Minister Yeh Ching-chuan said
that the department's stance on the issue remained the same. The proposed
amendment was not a loosening of restrictions, but was only meant to add Paylean
to the list stipulating drug residue limits for foods, Yeh said.
farmers marched in protest and threw eggs at the DoH building last year after
two shipments of US pork caused widespread concern when they tested positive for
ractopamine. The pig farmers said the government had double standards, with
ractopamine prohibited in locally produced pork but permitted in low levels in
Source: Taipei Times
• Taiwan Department of Health
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