Local government ordinances banning meat products containing traces of ractopamine are nullified from today, while new rules are to be rejected, the Executive Yuan said yesterday, calling them unconstitutional and “chaotic.”
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 announced that the government would from today lift a ban on the importation of pork containing traces of ractopamine and beef from cattle more than 30 months old from the US, 17 local governments have passed autonomous ordinances requiring all pork to be certified as ractopamine-free.
The Executive Yuan decided to nullify the ordinances as they are illegal and implausible, Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The nation needs unified food safety standards so that producers can comply with the regulations, but the local ordinances state different standards, structures and penalties, Lo said.
For example, some ordinances only ban pork, while others include beef, he said, adding that some ban the sale of meat with traces of ractopamine, while others ban its use, manufacture, transport or public display.
To unify the regulations, the Executive Yuan has decided to abolish the ordinances, he added.
“From tomorrow, there will be no more mess,” Lo said.
Any local governments that ignore the rules could be penalized, the Executive Yuan said, adding that any sanctions placed on companies would be revoked.
Responses were split along party lines, with Democratic Progressive Party leaders, such as Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), vowing to follow the regulations, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayors and commissioners such as Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Hsinchu County Commissioner Yang Wen-ke (楊文科) were all quick to call for a constitutional interpretation, although they deferred to their local councils.
New Taipei City Councilor Chou Sheng-kao (周勝考) of the KMT said ordinances that contravene the law should be revised, not nullified.
The Executive Yuan should listen to public opinion and adjust contradictory elements of the law, he said.
The ordinances are backed by both local councils and public opinion, he added, accusing the Executive Yuan of “lacking respect.”
The KMT condemned the decision and promised to coordinate with local governments seeking a constitutional interpretation.
Article 75 of the Local Government Act (地方制度法) states that autonomous ordinances “shall not be rescinded, changed, revoked or discontinued” before the Council of Grand Justices issues an interpretation, the KMT said.
The party urged the government to stop making “one mistake after another,” and to quit “abusing its power.”
A protest march organized by the Civil Alliance Against Poisoned Pork was held last night, with participants silently marching three times around the Legislative Yuan in Taipei from 7pm to 9pm,.
The alliance was planning to protest for 24 hours until the flag-raising ceremony at the Presidential Office Building at 6:30am today.
As the public has made it clear they do not want ractopamine-laced pork, the alliance would continue protesting and pushing for the matter to be put to a referendum, it said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang, Huang Hsu-lei, Hsu Cho-hsun and Su Meng-chuan
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