Under the “four principles,” the government proposed relaxing the ban on ractopamine residue only in beef in recognition of local dietary habits and the potential impact of pork imports with ractopamine residue on the local hog industry, the premier said.
The government will follow the principle of mandatory labeling of beef containing ractopamine residue to ensure that food retailers give consumers the right information about whether ractopamine residue is in their products, he added.
Chen said the government would continue to strictly inspect imported beef lot-by-lot and to step up random testing of imported beef on store shelves, while the National Health Research Institution will monitor possible impact on human health caused by consumption of beef containing ractopamine residue.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has pushed for lifting the import ban in hopes that the lingering issue that hindered the resumption of talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement could be resolved soon.
The proposal has met stiff opposition in some quarters.
On May 7, the Legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee dealt a blow to the government when it adopted an amendment proposed by the DPP that called for maintaining the zero tolerance policy.
Earlier last month, the opposition lawmakers also staged a five-day legislative boycott to stymie a vote on a law amendment aimed at allowing controlled levels of the drug in US beef imports. The legislature is slated to hold a provisional session from July 25 to July 27.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang and CNA