The government could either review its zero-tolerance policy on the use of ractopamine in beef and pork, maintain the ban on the controversial feed additive, lift the prohibition, or work out other ways to resolve the issue, a health official said yesterday.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) said the long-discussed ban on US beef containing ractopamine, a lean meat-enhancing drug, would be among the first issues to be addressed by the new Cabinet after its inauguration earlier yesterday.
It has been more than four years since the government announced in August 2007 its zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine residue in beef and pork, he said.
The ban on the import of US beef with ractopamine residues has affected trade talks between Taiwan and the US, one of the nation’s largest trade partners.
Kang said that with the formation of a new Cabinet, the beef issue has again been brought to the table.
The 2007 standards on ractopamine residue in beef and pork should be reviewed, given possible changes over the years, he said.
The FDA needs to collect new data regarding the feed additive’s effect on human health, he added.
“Experts in the field will be invited to re-assess the matter,” he said.
Kang said there were four possible ways to settle the controversy surrounding the ban on lean-meat enhancing drugs: lifting the prohibition on beef, but keeping it on pork; lifting the ban on imported beef and pork, but keeping it on domestic products; lifting the ban on both beef and pork regardless of their sources; and maintaining the ban on both products.
Inter-ministerial talks are needed to settle the issue, Kang said, adding that a task force had been formed to deal with the issue.