Taiwanese agriculture representatives last week threatened to stage a large-scale protest if the country lifts its ban on imports of pork from hogs given the feed additive ractopamine.
The threat was prompted by Taiwan Agriculture Minister-designate Tsao Chi-hung’s statement last week that Taiwan “cannot shut its doors to U.S. pork containing ractopamine forever in the face of globalization,” noting that Japan and South Korea now allow ractopamine imports.
Taiwan’s new president, Tsai Ing-wen, previously indicated she wants the island nation to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that the country must resolve issues related to imports of U.S. pork products, including its ban on ractopamine.
The National Pork Producers Council has been pressing the Obama administration to urge Taiwan to lift the ban, which is not based on science. Ractopamine, which is widely used as part of a healthy, balanced diet to help pigs convert dietary nutrients into lean muscle, was determined to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is approved for use in pork production in 26 countries, with 75 additional nations allowing the importation of pork from hogs fed ractopamine.
In July 2012, the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius, which sets international standards for food safety, approved a maximum residue limit for ractopamine, which U.S. pork meets.