Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers question ADI standards

SECRET MEETING?A doctor said setting an acceptable daily intake level for ractopamine would mislead the public about the toxicity of the disputed feed additive

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yu Mei-nu, left, and Tien Chiu-chin display a mock award designating President Ma Ying-jeou as “the best salesman for ractopamine-treated US beef” in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, along with a doctor and an academic, yesterday called for an independent risk evaluation following an “arbitrary” decision by the Department of Health to set the acceptable daily intake (ADI) level of ractopamine for human consumption earlier this month.

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said the department held a meeting on April 11 and decided on the ADL level ahead of a legislative review of a proposed bill to relax the ban on ractopamine as livestock feed additive.

Tien said the department’s action not only ignored the principle of making government policies public, but was also a sign of disrespect to the legislature and procedural justice.

The food hygiene and safety risk evaluation meeting, in which the ADI level was set, was not a regular committee meeting held by the Food and Drug Administration, clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩) said.

How the resolution was made or how the committee members were chosen were not clear, Su said.

Although the department says the ADI level is not the same as the maximum residue level (MRL), Su said the MRL is usually formulated based on the ADI, adding that setting an ADI level would also mislead the public about the toxicity of ractopamine.

The UN has yet to reach a consensus on risk evaluations for the effects of ractopamine on human health, Su said, accusing the department of holding the meeting in secret and of using a fabricated consensus.

The controversy surrounding the feed additive came to the fore after the government earlier this year announced plans to ease the ban on ractopamine from US beef imports.

Quoting an article on the enforcement of provisional quarantine measures and risk evaluations when scientific evidence is insufficient, based on the WHO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) asked why the Executive Yuan has proposed a policy of relaxing rules on US beef imports containing ractopamine residue even before risk evaluations of their impact on domestic industries, human health, human rights and diplomacy are done.

Wu Kuen-Yuh (吳焜裕), an associate professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, suggested following the example of the EU or Japan in establishing an independent risk evaluation committee whose legality, impartiality and professionalism are guaranteed to gain the trust of the public.

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