Taiwan society opposes import of US pork
Non-governmental organizations, legislators and health experts in Taiwan have continued to challenge the Taiwan authority’s decision to import US pork containing ractopamine.
Over the weekend, the opposition Kuomintang initiated a petition for holding a referendum against the policy, urging the public to sign the petition and actively stop the policy from taking effect.
The Taiwan authority announced on August 28 that it will set standards for ractopamine residue in imported pork to allow imports of such meat and open its market to US beef for cattle aged over 30 months.
The use of ractopamine in pork had been banned in Taiwan in the wake of the risks it may pose to human health.
The authority decided to import pork containing ractopamine without informing the public or consulting the local industry, and without a review by the legislature or proper evaluation of its risks, the KMT said in a press release on Friday. Considering that pork is a major source of meat and processed foods in Taiwan, and local people also favor pork offal, the KMT is deeply worried about the policy’s negative impact on public health, it said.
The scientific evidence on ractopamine’s impact on human health through human tests was very limited and controversial, said Dr Jen I-an with the Taiwan Society of Preventive Medicine, adding that there is no research on its impact on the elderly, pregnant women, or infants.
Several million people may be affected, raising serious questions about whether Taiwan needs to face such health risks, Jen said.
“The policy is to benefit multinationals and sacrifice the interests of the public and local industry. It is not only a question of science but also a question of justice,” he said.