The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Executive Yuan engaged in war of rhetoric yesterday over who had flip-flopped on the US beef imports policy and which administration had been the first to allow imports of US beef containing the feed additive ractopamine.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said on Sunday night that US beef imports with ractopamine residues had been allowed to enter Taiwan as early as 2000 during the then-DPP administration, despite that administration twice suspending US beef imports.
Hu added that the former DPP administration had listed ractopamine as a banned drug in 2006, but had only conducted ractopamine inspections on pork and, consequently, as many as 10,000 tonnes of ractopamine-laced US beef had been consumed in Taiwan.
“Hu’s comments showed that the DPP is neither anti-US beef nor anti-US, as the KMT has claimed,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
Lin said that the DPP had never lifted the ban on ractopamine and that what the party had dealt with when it was in power was the issues of US beef imports in relation to mad cow disease.
“And all the US beef imported during the DPP administration was conditional on several regulations,” Lin added.
It was President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) who had flip-flopped on the issue, Lin said.
In August 2007, Ma said as a presidential candidate that he would “shoulder the responsibility to protect Taiwanese consumers as well as the local pork industry against ractopamine, which was banned in more than 160 countries, including the EU,” according to Lin.
Ma also said he opposed to the “one country, two systems” practice, which would ban the use of ractopamine by domestic farmers and allow foreign meat products containing the animal feed additive.
“President Ma is now doing something he opposed five years ago,” Lin said.
KMT spokesperson Yin Wei (殷瑋), meanwhile, echoed Hu’s comments, saying that it was the DPP which had evaded its responsibility and flip-flopped on the policy.
DPP Chairperson Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) lifted the ban on US beef imports on Jan. 25, 2006, the very first day he assumed the premiership, and had never required inspecting US beef for ractopamine residues.
Former DPP secretary-general Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said on Sept. 13, 2007, when Su Tseng-chang served as minister of the Council of Agriculture, that the ractopamine issue had been “politicized” in Taiwan and the ban “does not make sense,” Yin said.