Clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩), who has been accused of spreading false information about the effects of ractopamine on humans, yesterday said he would eat pork containing the drug if the president could prove it was safe.
Su, who has been an outspoken critic of such imports from the US, and who the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has expressed support for, is under investigation after the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Oct. 28 filed a formal complaint against him with the police, for allegedly spreading misinformation about ractopamine in contravention of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).
Su has previously said ractopamine causes autism and that it is 250 times more toxic than the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, among other claims.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
At a news conference in front of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), Su and other anti-ractopamine activists called on the government to halt its plan to import US pork containing ractopamine residue.
Su asked whether President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) could prove that ractopamine is safe to consume, and said: “If you [Tsai] dare to say [that it is safe], then I dare to eat it.”
The group brought a letter and a framed poem asking US officials not to sell meat products containing ractopamine in Taiwan, but the AIT did not send anyone outside to receive them, so the group said that they would send them by courier instead.
However, Su repealed his statement about ractopamine’s toxicity, saying that he had misunderstood a scientific paper he read on the subject, and that his current understanding is that ractopamine is one-fourth as toxic as MDMA.
Su added that he was not concerned about the ministry’s lawsuit against him and accused it of reporting false information in its assessment of the health risks of consuming ractopamine.
No scientific studies on ractopamine had been done in Taiwan, Su said, adding that “neither Tsai nor the ministry have the power to turn Taiwanese children into lab rats.”
Su said that he hoped for the development of a US-Taiwan relationship that allows the people of both countries to be healthy, and denied allegations that he was “pro-China.”
As evidence of this, Su said that in 2012, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was the opposition and protested against the then-KMT government’s plan to lift the ban on imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue, he was asked by then-DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to hold a lecture for DPP lawmakers on the issue.
Life expectancy in the US is declining, with heart disease as the leading cause of death, he said, adding that cardiac toxicity caused by ractopamine has been proven in animal tests.
Although Taiwan’s participation in the WTO meant that it could not refuse to import agricultural products, it can require that imported meat not contain ractopamine, as it does not use the drug on its own livestock, he said.
Su also expressed concerns about the potential effect of imported pork on the price of locally produced pork.
Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) asked Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) whether the ministry’s case against Su was meant to create a chilling effect on free speech, saying that the ministry should clarify what statements by Su were considered misinformation.
Chen said that the ministry had clarified the issue numerous times, and has no choice but to take legal action agasint Su.
If Su could issue a clear correction, the ministry would not rule out dropping the case, he added.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
‘CORNERED ENEMY’: China’s rise is threatening peace and stability, and the US would aim to restrict it with help from allies in the Asia-Pacific, Soong Hseik-wen said A draft bill on protecting Taiwan from invasion is likely to be passed by the US Congress, but it remains to be seen how US President Joe Biden’s administration would implement the act if it is passed, Taiwanese academics said on Sunday. US Senator Rick Scott and US Representative Guy Reschenthaler on Thursday reintroduced the proposed Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which was shelved in September last year due to the impending US presidential election. Arthur Ding (丁樹範), a professor at National Chengchi University’s College of International Affairs, and Soong Hseik-wen (宋學文), a professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Graduate Institute
CHANGING IT UP: With Bopomofo rarely used outside of Taiwan, the lawmaker said that Romanization would help the government in its internationalization efforts Tainan City Councilor Lee Chi-wei (李啟維) yesterday called for the use of Romanized spellings to make Taiwanese dialects and languages internationally recognizable. Speaking at a news conference in Tainan to mark International Mother Language Day, Lee said the use of zhuyin fuhao (注音符號, Mandarin phonetic symbols commonly known as Bopomofo) made it difficult to promote interest in, or recognition of, the nation’s dialects and languages, as the system is not commonly used outside of Taiwan. “The legislature has already passed the Development of National Languages Act (國家語言發展法), but under the current circumstances that act is like a candle in the wind,” he
CHINESE AGGRESSION: The bill seeks to empower Taiwan by calling for a free-trade pact and authorizing the US president to use military force to defend Taiwan US Senator Rick Scott and US Representative Guy Reschenthaler on Thursday reintroduced in the US Congress the Taiwan invasion prevention act, aiming to boost Taiwan’s ability to resist Chinese aggression. While the bill was introduced last year by Scott and former US representative Ted Yoho, it was not listed onto the formal agenda in the run-up to the US presidential election in November last year. “We can’t sit back and let Communist China continue to threaten our democratic ally Taiwan,” Scott, a Republican, wrote on Twitter, urging US President Joe Biden and other Democractic senators to “take a stand for democracy” and
Authorities in Taiwan and the US recently busted an international prostitution ring, and arrested three Taiwanese allegedly involved in trafficking women from Taiwan to the US and other countries. The Criminal Investigation Bureau in September last year received information from the American Institute in Taiwan on Taiwanese women allegedly involved in prostitution in the US, Lee Yang-chi (李泱輯), an officer in the bureau’s International Criminal Affairs Division, told a news conference in Taipei on Thursday. The bureau’s investigation led to the detention of three Taiwanese in Taipei earlier this month, including the alleged ring leader, a 31-year-old woman surnamed Lin (林), Lee