Sat, Mar 03, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Health and agriculture ministers sued

Staff Writer, with CNA

Homemakers’ Union and Foundation chairperson Chen Man-li, center, and other members of civic groups protest outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday as they bring a lawsuit against the ministers of health and agriculture, accusing them of violating the Anti-Corruption Act after banned leanness-enhancing drugs were recently found in imported beef products.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Several civil groups brought a lawsuit against the health and agriculture ministers yesterday, accusing them of violating the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) over recent discoveries of meat products containing banned leanness-enhancing drugs.

Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), chairwoman of the Homemakers’ Union and Foundation, said the groups sued Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) for negligence.

She said the minister had been unaware that meat containing ractopamine had been imported even though all types of muscle-growth animal feed additives, including ractopamine, are banned in the country.

The groups sued Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) for allowing the process of examining food products and meting out penalties to take three months to complete.

They said such a lag time seriously impedes the public’s right to purchase safe food, she said.

Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳), an official of the Life Conservationists Association, said that more than 20 civic groups have joined a campaign to try to bar US beef, a number that is expected to increase to about 100 by next week, when they will take to the streets in front of the Council of Agriculture over the issue.

Chang Hung-lin (張宏林), executive director of Citizen’s Congress Watch, said that Chiu, Chen and their predecessors were confident that import regulations were adequate to keep questionable US beef products at bay.

However, the recent detection of beef products containing ractopamine was a slap in the face for the government, he said.

Responding to the lawsuit, Chiu said he respects “all kinds of voices” on the issue.

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