Farmers call to keep US chicken and pork banned


Bangkok Post

14 Jul 2017


Thai pig and chicken farmers have raised concerns that a ban on imports of pork and chicken meat from the US could be lifted under pressure from the US.


The farmers fear they could be hurt by the dumping of cheap imported meat, and possible diseases and contaminated residues in the meat could harm the reputation of Thai pork and chicken exports, according to the associations.


Surachai Sutthitham, president of the Thai Swine Raisers Association, said the groups submitted a letter to government agencies related to pork and chicken imports for the second time in a year yesterday, demanding the government keep the US pork and chicken import ban in place.


The letter was also sent to key state agencies overseeing livestock imports, including the Livestock Development Department, the Trade Negotiations Department and Foreign Trade Department.


"We want the government to continue the ban on US pork imports since it is widely known that the beta agonist drug, ractopamine, is widely used in the US, leaving the pork contaminated,'' said Mr Surachai.


Ractopamine increases protein synthesis, making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal. However, rectopamine has some negative effects on human health and because of safety concerns, about 160 nations ban or restrict the use of this drug during pig production, including countries in the European Union, Russia, China, and Thailand.


Mr Surachai said Thailand is under growing pressure from US President Donald Trump, who wants countries to buy more pork products from the US, especially pig parts which US consumers generally avoid eating, such as heads, giblets, legs and offal. The pressure has eased a little with the postponement of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha's visit to the US originally scheduled for late this month, when Thai pig farmers feared the issue of lifting the ban could be on the table...