DOH detects ractopamine in pork shipment from US


Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 4

The Department of Health has detected residue from the banned veterinary drug ractopamine in a shipment of frozen pork from the US for the fifth time since July, a department official said on Friday.

The concentration of ractopamine detected in the frozen pork, which had not yet entered the local market, stood at 0.6 parts per billion, said Cheng Hui-wen (鄭慧文), director-general of department's Bureau of Food Sanitation.

Although it is legal in more than 20 countries, including the US, Taiwan has adopted a zero tolerance policy for residue of ractopamine, a drug used as a feed additive to increase protein and decrease fat in pigs.

The problematic pork was imported by Pu-hui Foods Enterprise of Miaoli County. The importer can choose to destroy the pork or transfer it to another country, Cheng said.

The Regulations Governing the Inspection of Imported Foods, which came into effect on July 1, state that any imported food item of which three lots fail an examination for banned drugs will have the frequency of shipment inspections increased from "random" to "without exception."

Cheng said the bureau has applied the strictest examination standards to every shipment of US pork since August after two contaminated lots were found. Cheng said the bureau asked for and received US government plans to remedy the situation.