Health ministry firm on ractopamine ban in pork products

The health ministry says it will stand firm on the government's ban on the use of a leanness-enhancing drug called ractopamine in pork.

In a written report, the ministry says the ban imposed by the Council of Agriculture in 2012 applies to local and imported pork products.

In recent years, Taiwan has been under pressure from the United States to lift the ban. However, the government has made it clear that it will not allow US pork imports with traces of ractopamine to enter Taiwan before a science-based risk assessment is carried out. The government has also promised to ensure food safety and protect pig farmers' rights when discussing the issue in the future.

Deputy Agricultural Minister Chen Chi-chung on Monday reiterated the government's stance.

Our current policy is to not allow the use of ractopamine, nor will we allow it in the future," Chen said. "That's the only way we can showcase the unique qualities and the competitiveness of Taiwan's livestock industry."

In Taiwan, the annual consumption of pork is seven times that of beef. Taiwanese are also more likely to eat innards than Americans, which is thought to increase the safety risk.

The legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee is scheduled to review a food safety law on Wednesday.

Source: Radio Taiwan International