Food safety and nutrition experts from the Department of Health (DOH) have reached an agreement to cap the allowable residue level for the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine at 10 parts per billion (ppb), according to a department official.
The experts decided the limit — equivalent to 10 micrograms of ractopamine residue per 1kg of beef — at a meeting on Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) said.
The experts based their decision on a maximum safe daily intake of 1 microgram for an adult, which would mean the ractopamine residue in a Taiwanese adult who consumed an average of 12.85g of beef per day would be as little as 0.5 percent of 1 microgram, Kang said.
The department’s meeting to decide the maximum allowable level of ractopamine residue in beef came after the Legislative Yuan passed an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) last week, paving the way for beef imports containing the leanness--enhancing drug.
As soon as the amendments takes effect, the Department will formally communicate the allowable level to the public and make sure the standard is adhered to, Kang said.
In addition, efforts will be stepped up to check beef imports at the border and beef being sold in domestic markets, he added.
According to the department, since the health authorities began efforts on March 20 to stop imported beef containing ractopamine residue from entering the market, inspectors have discovered ractopamine in six out of 490 batches of imported beef inspected, as of Sunday. Five batches were shipped back to where they came from, while the sixth was destroyed, the department said.