Two distinguished professors will give a report at a meeting today on the advice they gave the government in 2001, when a US pharmaceutical company applied to sell the livestock feed additive ractopamine in Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
“At a meeting of the Cabinet’s cross-agency advisory panel on US beef imports, the two professors will provide information on Eli Lilly Co’s application to sell ractopamine in Taiwan,” Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director Hsu Tien-lai (許天來) said.
It will be the panel’s second meeting since it was formed earlier this month to advise the Cabinet on technical details regarding the issue of whether Taiwan should lift its ban on US beef containing ractopamine, a lean meat-enhancing drug.
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji’s (陳保基) comment on Friday that Eli Lilly had filed an application in 2001 for permission to sell ractopamine in Taiwan has drawn widespread public attention.
Given the public interest in the issue, the bureau decided to invite Liu Tsao-hsin (劉朝鑫), a professor emeritus at National Taiwan University’s veterinary medicine department, and Shen Tien-fu (沈添富), a professor emeritus at the university’s zoology department, to explain in detail the advice they gave the Democratic Progressive Party administration at the time.
The advisory panel will also review the opinions presented by different sectors on the contentious beef issue, Hsu said, adding that the discussions would focus on five to six items.
In addition to the 16 participants in the panel’s first session, several other experts — particularly those who oppose lifting the ban on ractopamine — will be invited to today’s meeting, Hsu said.
Asked about US media reports that the use of ractopamine led to illness or death of 218,000 pigs in the US, Hsu said his bureau had been seeking verification from US authorities through various channels over the past few days.
“We have not yet received any response from the US,” Hsu said.
However, academics and experts at the meeting will offer analytical opinions on the matter based on available documents and data, he said.