The China Post news staff
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a global food safety body, yesterday voted to allow 10 ppb ractopamine residue in beef and pork, a development that is expected to help the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) pass its U.S. beef amendments more easily in the Legislative Yuan.
The Codex member states voted 69-67 at a meeting held in Rome yesterday afternoon that it is safe to allow 10 ppb residue of ractopamine, a leanness-enhancing drug, in beef and pork — 40 ppb in pig and cattle livers, and 90 ppb in pig and cattle kidneys.
The CAC vote is expected to help the ruling and opposition lawmakers reach a consensus on revising the Act Governing Food Sanitation to allow imports of U.S. beef products containing ractopamine.
The KMT has proposed revising the act to allow imports of U.S. beef products containing a maximum 10 ppb of ractopamine residue, and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has insisted that the allowable ractopamine residue should be based on the levels set by the CAC.
The Legislative Yuan is slated to hold an extraordinary session July 24-27 to review the revisions to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, stock gains tax bill and other key issues.
No Reason to Reject: DPP Lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng, a deputy convener of the KMT legislative caucus, said that the CAC decision has justified the government’s proposal to allow 10 ppb residue of ractopamine in beef products, and he called on the DPP not to recklessly criticize U.S. beef as “toxic” beef again.
On another front, lawmaker Ker Chien-ming, chief convener of the DPP, said now that the CAC has voted to allow certain levels of ractopamine in beef and pork products, Taiwan has no other reason to reject the decision. Ker said that both the ruling and opposition lawmakers should engage in rational discussions on how to separate imports of U.S. beef products from those of pork products, and work out countermeasures to cushion the impact of the imports on local farmers.
In addition, DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said that the CAC, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. and the World Health Organization, is the most important safety standards-setting organization, and therefore Taiwan should follow the CAC safety standards.
Accordingly, Lin said, the DPP will agree to the government importing U.S. beef products with a maximum ractopamine of 10 ppb, but will never retreat from its efforts to safeguard the health of nationals. Lin stressed that the DPP will continue to supervise government examinations on imports of beef products to prevent imports of those products containing over 10 ppb of ractopamine residue.
Request to Vote: TSU In contrast, lawmaker Lin Shih-chia, convener of the legislative caucus of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), said the TSU will keep insisting on imports of ractopamine-free beef products, and will request a vote on the issue at the upcoming extraordinary legislative session. Also yesterday, Cabinet spokesman Hu Yu-wei said that the latest vote by the CAC on the safety of allowed levels of the leanness-enhancing drug in meat will not change Taiwan’s policy to allow U.S. beef imports containing the additive.