A shipment of 400 tonnes of French pork is expected to arrive in Kaohsiung Harbor late next month and might drive down pork prices, agricultural and economics officials said.
The officials said the shipment will be the first pork to arrive from France since the government last month approved French imports of pork that do not contain ractopamine.
The leanness-enhancing animal feed additive is heavily restricted in Taiwan and, while used in many countries, is banned by others over health concerns.
The French pork was imported by the National Animal Industry Foundation at the urging of the Representative to France Michel Lu (呂慶龍) in a bid to push down pork prices that peaked after a dysentery outbreak decimated the local pig population earlier this year.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea has been devastating Taiwan’s swine population since October last year, causing the price of piglets to skyrocket. According to the Council of Agriculture, the disease killed 40,000 piglets in February, which is still less than the peak of 70,000 in January.
Officials said they expect the pork from France to arrive before the Dragon Boat Festival on June 2, when pork consumption traditionally increases.
Taiwan applies the same policy to US pork, which can only be imported if certified by the US Department of Agriculture as ractopamine free, the officials said.
The nation had initially banned the feed additive in all imported meats, but relaxed regulations to allow beef imports containing set levels of ractopamine on Sept. 11 last year. However, cow and pig organs are still under the ban.