DPP legislator supports Taiwan opposition’s referendum on US pork

Member of Taiwan’s ruling party urges government to respect public opinion

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DPP legislator Hsu Chih-chieh. (Facebook, Hsu Chih-chieh photo)

DPP legislator Hsu Chih-chieh. (Facebook, Hsu Chih-chieh photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said Monday (Sept. 14) that he will support the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) referendum on U.S. pork imports if it passes.

In light of the Taiwanese government's recent decision to open the country to U.S. pork containing the leanness additive ractopamine, lawmakers and health experts have voiced their opposition to the policy change and warned of potential risks. On Sunday (Sept. 13), the KMT initiated a nationwide referendum to counter the move and accused the Tsai administration of "ignoring public opinion."

New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-ih (侯友宜) has referred to the referendum as an amplification of the public's voice and said surveys found nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese are opposed to the importation of American pork. He urged the government to take full responsibility and prioritize the health of its citizens.

Meanwhile, Hsu said he respects the KMT's referendum as he believes in-system evaluation is necessary for Taiwan's government. He said he understood the KMT is using its proposal for political purposes, but the referendum does reflect public opinion and should be taken seriously by the Tsai administration, reported UDN.

According to government announcements, the importation of U.S. pork containing ractopamine is expected to take effect Jan. 1. The leanness-enhancing additive is currently banned for use in hogs in Taiwan as well as in the European Union due to concerns over its safety to both animals and humans.