Taiwan – Party sides with pig farmers on ractopamine issue

20-03-2012 | | |

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan has reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy on the controversial animal feed additive ractopamine with a statement and an amendment proposing that local governments be given more power to regulate food safety.

Mayors and county commissioners of six DPP-governed cities and counties met in Greater Kaohsiung and afterwards issued a joint statement calling for “three actions and four demands,” and asked President Ma Ying-jeou to reconsider lifting the ban on ractopamine residue in beef.
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu has promised the party would tackle the controversy on two fronts: the local governments it controls and at the legislature.
The statement said the party condemns Ma’s pending decision to conditionally allow US beef imports that contain ractopamine, because it ignores the opinions of experts and the public, and jeopardises public health.
The six officials called for a non-partisan coalition to safeguard public health and asked the legislature to maintain the zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine and pass amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation as soon as possible.
They said the central government should also maintain strict inspections at the border and in local markets and consider the expansion of compensation for local industries that suffer from the relaxation of the regulation.
The DPP will also strive for the implementation of strict examinations for the drug, the promotion of self-regulation by local governments and the promotion of product certification.

Anti-ractopamine alliance

In the legislature, DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po told a press conference that he was proposing an amendment to the Local Government Act that would give local governments more power to regulate food safety.
Chen will also establish an “anti-ractopamine alliance” with local councillors and DPP officials in Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Yilan County.
In a related development, a total of 7,490 kg of US beef was destroyed at an incinerator in suburban Taipei, marking the first time US beef was incinerated in Taiwan because of ractopamine.
The beef was imported by the Taipei-based Shuh Sen Co and was seized from the company’s warehouses in Keelung and Greater Kaohsiung.
“All the beef destroyed was seized in February and March and one batch had the highest content of ractopamine at 2.9 parts per billion,” said Chen Li-chi, director of Taipei’s Department of Health food and drug division, who witnessed the incineration.