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Pig farming industry threatens protest over U.S. pork imports

Pig farming industry threatens protest over U.S. pork imports

Representatives from the Republic of China Swine Association said Wednesday that if the government agrees to lift a ban on imports of U.S. pork containing traces of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, they will join hands with other pig farmers' associations around the nation to stage a large protest against the decision.

The representatives said at a press conference in the Legislative Yuan that to safeguard food safety for consumers in Taiwan, the association is strongly opposed to opening Taiwan's market to U.S. pork.

If the ban on U.S. pork imports is lifted, it would undermine the livelihood of Taiwan's approximately 8,000 hog farmers and that of 50,000 people in related industries, they said.

Meanwhile, ruling Kuomintang legislative caucus deputy whip Wang Yu-min lambasted opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen for stating that Taiwan should adopt Japan and South Korea's standards for ractopamine in imported pork as a reference during Sunday's televised presidential debate.

Many countries have set standards for the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for ractopamine based on the meat consumption levels in their countries, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Given that Taiwan consumes more pork than Japan or South Korea, the opening of the market to imported meat containing ractopamine would seriously endanger public health, should Taiwan take those two countries' standards as a reference, Wang said.

Several food safety issues reported previously were caused by businesses' attempts to profiteer by using cheap raw materials, Wang noted, adding that if low-cost U.S. pork imports are allowed, it will be difficult to prevent domestic breeders from using low-cost additives in their products.

COA Minister Chen Bao-ji has said that producing pork with the leanness-enhancing feed additive can lower costs, meaning that allowing imports of pork with ractopamine, if sold at a dumping price, would hurt domestic pig farmers.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Evelyn Kao)

Updated : 2021-05-18 11:10 GMT+08:00