Tue, Feb 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DPP questions Ma’s beef policy

By Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff Reporter

Employees from Greater Kaohsiung’s Department of Health collect samples at a supermarket yesterday to examine whether the imported beef contains ractopamine residue.

Photo: CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Department of Health to explain how US beef imports would benefit the country.

The controversial issue was broached by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell during a talk at the Stimson Center think tank, a week after the re-election of Ma, saying that Washington would “like to see Taiwan take some necessary steps on beef.”

DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said that local farmers are not allowed to use lean meat-enhancing agents for raising hogs or cattle, and it is hard to understand why the government is forcing the issue when the US exports chemical-free US beef to the EU.

The government should make public health and food safety the No. 1 priority, Lin said.

Allowing meat produced with lean meat-enhancing agents into Taiwan would have an impact on public health and is not simply an issue of importing beef or impacting on a certain industry, he said

Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) should make his stance on the issue of importing beef produced with lean meat-enhancing agents clear, the DPP said.

If lean meat-enhancers are beneficial to the human body, Ma should say so clearly, Lin said.

However, if they are not, the government shouldn’t expend such a large social capital in the discussion of the issue and should just maintain the ban on such chemicals, Lin said.

The DPP caucus is inviting experts to talk on the adverse effects of lean meat enhancers on the human body to the party’s newly elected legislators to prepare them to discuss the issue when it makes it to the legislature.

Senior DPP officials said the party was still observing developments, paying close attention to public reaction and reserving its opinion.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff writer

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