Scientific evidence will need to be produced to support Taiwan’s total ban of meat products that contain the animal feed additive ractopamine if the nation decides not to follow a new international standard that is likely to be adopted in July, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) said yesterday.
If the Codex Alimentarius Commission — a UN-affiliated group — amends its regulations on the allowable level of the drug, which promotes the development of lean meat, the Taiwanese government would seek the opinions of local experts before making its own decision on the issue, Chen said at a legislative hearing.
“In theory, we should follow the international standard. If not, we’ll need to show scientific evidence to back our decision,” he said.
If the government has strong scientific data that prove even the international minimum permissible level of ractopamine is harmful to human health, then it should maintain its zero tolerance standard for ractopamine residues in meat, Chen said.
In January, Taipei blocked some shipments of US beef after it was found the meat contained ractopamine residue. Washington saw that as a violation of a beef protocol signed with Taipei in 2009. That same month, Taiwanese officials said Washington might be delaying the resumption of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks as a result of the beef ban.
Additional reporting by Staff Writer