The Codex Alimentarius Commission’s upcoming discussion on ractopamine will not just be about science and health, since a trade war is taking place behind the food safety issue, Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said yesterday.
Hu made the remarks in response to media reports that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is pushing for an extra legislative session to deal with the food safety bill linked to US beef imports before the commission makes a decision on the livestock leanness-enhancing drug.
The Codex is the main global body that reviews and develops the food code established by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO.
Hu told a press conference yesterday that the EU’s zero-ractopamine stance to protect its livestock farmers and consumers against a US push for the Codex to establish allowable residue levels for the drug is in fact part of a trade war between the two trade blocs.
Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) added that the commission’s discussion had stalled at the final stage on whether to set standards on the drug, a development that goes beyond scientific evaluation of the drug’s safety.
Although the expert committee on food additives under the commission has proposed a maximum allowable level of 10 parts per billion, no conclusion has been reached after five rounds of discussions by the Codex in the past, indicating a wrangling among the parties over trade concerns, Kang said.
He added that the Codex standards would only cover the more popular food additives, which are not necessarily followed by all countries due to their own needs.
There is also the possibility that the commission will not come up with a conclusion this year, Kang said.