The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday reiterated its opposition to the easing of a ban on residue of the livestock feed additive ractopamine in meat, despite the vote by a UN-affiliated food safety organization in favor of allowing certain levels of it.
On Thursday last week the Codex Alimentarius Commission in Rome, Italy, narrowly voted in favor of maximum residue levels (MRLs) of the additive.
“The dietary habits of Taiwanese are different from those of other countries. We agree that the Codex standard could serve as a reference for the amendment in Taiwan, but we are not required to proceed with the dispute in accordance with the Codex decision,” TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference.
“The TSU insists on zero-tolerance of ractopamine,” Hsu said.
Consumption of offal by Taiwanese would increase health concerns related to ractopamine, he added.
More discussion with academics is needed before the Legislative Yuan convenes for an extra session on July 24, he said.
Citing a press release issued by US-based National Health Federation, which stated that the voting “was forced upon the Commission by the insistence of the US, Costa Rica and Brazil,” TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said that Taiwan should not lower its health and food safety standards to accommodate countries with lower standards.
The 69-67 voting results in the Codex meeting showed that almost half of the member countries opposed the adoption, Lin said.
The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) headquarters said on Thursday night that the party has always advocated the adoption of international standards.
However, several DPP lawmakers took the same position as the TSU, saying that stricter measures should be implemented to safeguard public health.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said yesterday the DPP caucus planned to talk to academics, civic groups and opposition leaders before the extra legislative session about stricter measures on ractopamine, despite the international standard.