Expanded tests in the wake of a food safety controversy have not revealed the presence of a prohibited leanness-enhancing additive in dozens more pork samples from the local market, the Executive Yuan said yesterday.
An additional 90 samples from the pork supply chain came back negative for beta-agonists on Thursday, bringing the total number of banned additive-free samples to 625 since testing began on Saturday last week, it said in a press release.
The nationwide testing came after health officials in Taichung last week said they had found 0.002 parts per million (ppm) of the banned additive cimbuterol in a type of frozen pork supplied by state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar).
The Democratic Progressive Party-led central government questioned the veracity of the result and the motivation of the Taichung City Government, which is led by Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
However, the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday confirmed that it had also detected 0.001 ppm of cimbuterol in the same pack of pork, indicating that the Taichung result was valid.
To ease public concerns over food safety, the Cabinet launched more tests nationwide, adding that an expert meeting is to be convened after the Lunar New Year holiday to look into what it called the “isolated case” in Taichung.
The Cabinet added that though there were no records of cimbuterol being imported into the nation as an animal drug or a feed additive over the past two years, there were 72 shipments of a combined 789mg of cimbuterol categorized as a chemical during the period.
Four manufacturers imported cimbuterol in quantities ranging from 1mg to 85mg, it said, adding that it would investigate their distribution channels to determine whether the product has entered the agricultural sector.
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