Opening meat market to increase Taiwan int’l status: Minister Chen

Taiwan’s medical community on Friday called for an assessment of the potential risk in consuming meat containing ractopamine

TAIPEI (The China Post) – Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) dismissed criticism on Monday of the government’s decision to lift the bans on U.S. pork containing ractopamine and beef from cattle more than 30 months old, stressing that the move would increase Taiwan’s international status.

Speaking at a talk show on Hitoradio Hit Fm, Chen said that the decision was made in accordance with scientific findings on the animal feed additive used to promote leanness and increase food conversion efficiency in livestock.

If it is safe to consume pork containing ractopamine and beef from cattle more than 30 months, then lifting import restrictions can improve Taiwan’s international status, the minister argued.

The move, however, is a slap in the face of the political beliefs of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) when it was in opposition years ago, according to analysts who remarked that authorities do not have any guarantees that an eventual trade agreement will eventually be signed.

“It will take a lot of hard work,” Chen said. “If not, I cannot do anything about it, because I have to be responsible as a government officer.”

The Central News Agency reported that Taiwan’s medical community called for an assessment of the potential risk in consuming meat containing ractopamine on Friday as Taiwan announced plans to allow the imports of American pork containing the controversial feed additive that enhances leanness.