The Executive Yuan has asked the Consumer Protection Committee to monitor pork prices after an eatery raised the price of its lunchboxes made with domestic pork by NT$10.
The Fuji eatery in New Taipei City announced that the price of its “three treasures” rice dish containing roast pork, roast duck and roast chicken would rise by NT$5, and the prices of other lunch boxes containing pork would go up NT$10 to reflect the cost of domestic pork.
The price hike came in the wake of the central government lifting a ban on imported pork containing ractopamine, which took effect on Friday.
Photo: Chou Hsiang-yun, Taipei Times
The Executive Yuan said yesterday it has asked the committee to continue monitoring the price of pork products, as the cost of domestic pork has not increased abnormally.
The committee said that it would cooperate with local departments to stabilize pork prices if gouging is discovered.
Meanwhile, New Taipei City Consumer Protection Office Director Wang Chih-yu (王治宇) visited the eatery yesterday.
Restaurant owner Lee Wei-ing (李偉英) said that due to public concerns about imported pork containing ractopamine, the restaurant switched to domestic pork.
Fuji’s Shaolr Biandang had been using Canadian pork, but the change to domestic pork lifted costs by NT$50 to NT$60 per kilogram, so he had no choice but to raise the prices, Lee said.
In a market mechanism, a single store is allowed to alter prices to reflect the cost of its products, and has to bear the risk of losing customers, but if stores team up to drive up prices, they risk penalties for contravening the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法), Wang said.
The restaurant’s actions cannot be considered collective price gouging, as the increased prices are reasonable given the difference in cost between imported and domestic pork, he said.
Chamber of Commerce Meat Association of the Republic of China secretary-general Yuan Jen-chi (袁仁琦) said that costs would indeed go up for an eatery that switches from imported to domestic pork.
“Taiwan-produced pork is more expensive than imported pork,” Yuan said, adding that prices for domestic pork reached about NT$72 per kilogram recently, higher than the same period a year earlier, but still within reason.
The domestic pork market has become more active as imported pork containing ractopamine residues have become legal, and more people are willing to buy freshly slaughtered, or “warm” meat, Yuan said.
Additional reporting by Chou Hsiang-yun
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