Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - Page 3 News List

AIT warns on mixing politics and meat

Staff Writer, with CNA

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday said that Taiwan should not let politics influence its decision to maintain its ban on imported meats that contain lean-meat producing drugs.

AIT spokesperson Sheila Paskman made the remark when asked by reporters to comment on Taipei’s recent announcement that it would continue to prohibit meat with trace amounts of ractopamine to be imported.

Some countries have regulations that stipulate a maximum residue limit (MRL) of ractopamine, a drug that promotes lean meat growth, but Taiwan has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward the additive.

“We hope the decision is based on scientific evidence and not political concern,” Paskman said, adding that the US remains “very disappointed” that Taiwan has not switched to an MRL standard.

The Council of Agriculture said earlier that it would utilze regulations established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO’s Codex Alimentarius Commission as a reference when evaluating Taiwan’s ban.

However, in the latest commission meeting which was held last week, participating countries could not decide on acceptable MRL for ractopamine.

As a result, Taiwan still prohibits the import of meats that contain any amount of the drug.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 8,000kg of US beef was confiscated by border control agents on Tuesday because it contained the drug.

The differing ractopamine regulations between the two sides have stalled talks between Taiwan and the US under their bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

“We have nothing to announce at this time with regard to the scheduling of future TIFA meetings,” Paskman said.

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