The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged the Executive Yuan to hold a Food Safety Board meeting to discuss the potential impact of the government’s policy to allow imports of US pork containing the “leanness-enhancing” drug ractopamine, adding that it has been more than a year since a board meeting has been held.
According to Article 2-1 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), the Executive Yuan should establish a Food Safety Board to “take charge of inter-agency coordination for food safety risk assessments and management measures, and establish an alert and auditing system for food safety and sanitation,” the KMT said in a statement.
Under the act, the board should meet “once at least every three months,” while extraordinary meetings can be convened when necessary, it said.
However, the Food and Drug Administration Web site shows that the last meeting was held on June 3 last year, the KMT said, adding that there are no records of any meetings after that date.
More than a year had passed between the last meeting of the board and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announcing that Taiwan would allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, the KMT said, accusing the government of “deliberately ignoring discussion by the Food Safety Board” and “neglecting food safety and not protecting the health of the public.”
“How are the public supposed to believe that the Tsai administration decided to lift the ban after careful assessment of the food safety issues?” the KMT said.
Tsai on Aug. 28 announced that Taiwan on Jan. 1 next year would ease restrictions on imports of US pork containing traces of ractopamine and beef from cattle aged 30 months or older, adding that the decision was “based on national economic interests and consistent with our overall strategic goals.”
The KMT questioned whether the Ministry of Health and Welfare had recommended that a Food Safety Board meeting be held for discussion and evaluation of the possible issues that could arise as a result of the government’s policy announcement.
Through discussion with representatives of industry, government, academia and non-governmental organizations, a board meeting would highlight food safety issues and the decisionmaking would be made public, so that the safety of the public could be ensured, the KMT said.
However, the Executive Yuan did not call a board meeting either before or after the new policy was announced, it said.
The Executive Yuan should call a board meeting on the potential effects of the new policy “as soon as possible,” the KMT said.
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