Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said on Saturday that the government is planning to launch labeling for pork that is domestically produced and a system that will offer consumers information regarding production. According to Chen, the new labeling will work just like the existing labeling scheme for organic food and the Taiwan Agriculture and Food Traceability System, both of which are managed by the council and checked by third-party organizations.
Consumers can already scan the QR code on boxed eggs to find out where they came from, Chen said, noting that 70 percent of the pork in Taiwan can also be traced back to the hog farmers. Meanwhile, Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), chairman of the National Animal Industry Foundation, said the industry body has submitted several draft designs for the planned labeling to the council, so that it can be launched in late September or early October.
The foundation was set up by the council to promote production and sales for the animal husbandry business. However, Chen said the council plans to announce more details next week about the labeling and tracing system, which is aimed at helping consumers to distinguish locally produced pork from imported products, which he expects to be introduced before the end of December.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Aug. 28 a government plan to ease the existing ban on imported pork containing the leanness enhancing feed additive ractopamine from Jan. 1, 2021, thus allowing imports of pork from the United States. Since then, the government has made public its stance that the use of leanness enhancing drugs will remain prohibited in locally produced pork, while the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced eased standards on the amount of ractopamine residue allowed in imported pork, as well as new food labeling standards involving pork products.
Lin said consumers will be able to tell by the planned new labeling whether restaurants, eateries, or butchers are using local pork. The foundation will help butchers and vendors to adopt the traceability system, in order to establish a clear distinction between pork produced in Taiwan and abroad, he added.
As for labeling rules recently introduced by local governments, such as Tainan, Lin said the central government will not interfere with these measures.
The council's data shows that 90 percent of the pork consumed in Taiwan in 2019 was locally produced.