The government yesterday gave a preview of an official notice on the allowable levels of ractopamine in beef imports and requirements for product origin labeling, as it prepares to open the local market to imported beef containing the livestock feed additive next month.
The preview is aimed at allowing members of the public to express their opinions about the measures, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Kang Jaw-jou (康照洲) told a press conference.
The new regulations are expected to take effect by the middle of next month, Kang said.
The Department of Health has capped the maximum residue limit for ractopamine in beef at 10 parts per billion (ppb), he said, adding that within the next 14 days, members of the public could submit their opinions, which the department would “take into consideration.”
He did not rule out a re-evaluation of the standards for ractopamine residues, but added that “the chances are slim.”
The government made a thorough evaluation and solicited professional opinions on the issue before announcing the lifting of the ban on the leanness-enhancing additive used in some countries, he said.
Countries such as Japan and South Korea have also set 10ppb residue standards for their beef imports, Kang said.
The public can also express their views on regulations related to the labeling of the origin of beef imports within the following week, he added.
Under the new regulations, places serving beef — including restaurants and food stands — must clearly label the origin of the beef they are using, the department said.
Packaged foods such as instant noodles and beef jerky should also be labeled showing point of origin, it added.
The department will step up inspections of beef products on the market and in restaurants serving beef in the months after the release of the official notice.
“We aim to check 30,000 restaurants,” he said.