Committee votes down Cabinet’s US beef plan


TAIPEI — The Cabinet’s proposal to allow imports of U.S. beef that contain the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine was voted down in a legislative committee meeting yesterday, but the issue will be put to a vote in a plenary session at a later date.

The proposal was rejected 7-6 in the committee stage. Seven legislators of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) voted in favor of a DPP proposal to maintain a zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine, while six ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers backed a Cabinet bill to allow controlled levels of ractopamine in beef imports.

However, the Cabinet bill, which seeks to amend the Act Governing Food Sanitation, will be sent to the full Legislature by the 15-member Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, in keeping with a multipartisan agreement reached last week.

KMT Legislator Cheng Ru-fen, who opposes allowing ractopamine residues, did not attend Monday’s meeting.

Being absent from the meeting was a gesture to demonstrate her efforts to safeguard public health, Cheng said.

KMT legislative whip Lin Hung-chih said he was disappointed with the results of the vote, which indicated that Cheng is still concerned about the safety of ractopamine.

The Cabinet must step up its communication with the Legislature on major policies, Lin said.

The Cabinet bill factors in public health issues and national interests, Lin said. Story continues on page 19