Pig farmers seek strict implementation of ractopamine rules


By Huang Kuo-fang, Yu Hsiao-han, Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin, Focus Taiwan



Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Pig farmers in Taiwan said they hope the rules on the amount of ractopamine residue allowed in imported U.S. pork, as well as related inspection and labeling, can be implemented strictly in the wake of the government's announcement Saturday that it will set ractopamine standards for the meat.


Hsu Yu-tsung (許裕聰), director of the Yunlin County Pig Farmers Association, urged the government to stick to the standards it has set and carry out complementary measures as promised, including inspections of the labeling of the origin of pork and pork products.


On labeling, he added, pork importers, distributors and retailers that introduce the products should make clear the point of origin.


The farmers will take to the streets to protect against the government if their voices are not heeded, Hsu said.


Tseng Sheng-cheng (曾勝誠), who represents pig farmers in Tainan, southern Taiwan, suggested that the government could introduce third-party inspections and make them at least as frequent as those applied to Taiwanese pork.


Meanwhile, Wang Chung-li (王忠禮), who represents Kaohsiung pig farmers, expressed hope that the government could adopt even stricter limits on pork organs containing the leanness-enhancing drug, adding that pig farmers associations across Taiwan will have another meeting on Sept. 9 to reach more definitive conclusions for the government's reference.


Hotel and restaurant operators said they will work with the government to notify customers of pork sources on their menus, but also said it will depend on customer response to see if they will be prepared to accept U.S. pork.


While U.S. pork is cheaper, its lower quality compared to Taiwanese pork may lead to loss of customers, they argued.


Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said he is open to central government regulations, stressing that the key lies in implementation.


Ko also called for more details on pork management, including when and how inspections of imported pork are conducted.


Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said earlier in the day that the government will adopt stricter standards on pig kidneys, and will only allow kidneys containing no more than 40 parts per billion of ractopamine to be imported, compared with the 90 ppb set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.


Taiwan will follow the Codex guidelines on...