Taiwan amending law to pave way for US meat containing Ractopamine

Ractopamine still not legal for use by hog farmers in Taiwan

New food labeling system for meat will commence next year. 

New food labeling system for meat will commence next year.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) has announced an amendment to the law governing the use of animal feed additives that promote leanness in livestock, making an exception for imported meat products containing Ractopamine.

The change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Less than two weeks after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced the nation would open its market to American pork with Ractopamine and beef from cattle over 30 months of age, the country's top agricultural authority has announced the change to the relevant animal quarantine rule. The adjustment is widely believed to pave the way for expanded market access for American pork and beef beginning next year.

Growth promotants, including beta agonists, are still barred from use in food animal production in Taiwan, even though the green light was recently given to imported American pork containing Ractopamine, a safer beta agonist, after negotiations between the Taiwanese and U.S. governments. To avoid ambiguity, the COA has amended the law to state that the exception applies "only to Ractopamine," in imported beef and pork products instead of to all beta agonists.

The COA clarified that the production, sale, preparation, and display of said animal drug is "still" not allowed within Taiwan.

Ractopamine is authorized as a feed additive in the U.S. However, major American pork producers such as JBS USA and Tyson have stopped using it, and it is banned in China, EU nations, and many other countries.

As food safety concerns remain strong among Taiwanese consumers, a clear food labeling system for pork products at online and offline retail outlets and restaurants will commence simultaneously with the change next year to help consumers identify the country of origin for meat products.