Taiwan zigzags on pork product labeling

Nation rushes to dispel food safety fears related to US pork

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Pork product containing lard

Pork product containing lard (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The health authorities in Taiwan have moved to modify pork labeling regulations, after the relaxation of American meat imports.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a series of notices on Thursday (Sept. 17) to clarify pork product labeling requirements. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, all pork products, fresh or processed, must have their country of origin clearly disclosed.

The rule applies to fresh pork, braised pork rice, pork balls, or any edible part of the hog. Supermarkets, retailers, traditional markets, restaurants, and stalls alike are required to comply with the regulations, the FDA elaborated.

This backtracked from a previous notice, which stated labeling for lard in pork products would not be mandatory unless the product itself is lard, which triggered a public outcry, according to CNA.

It is the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s latest effort to address the controversy over the import and sale of American pork, taking effect next year. Some argue U.S. pork with ractopamine, a leanness promoting feed additive, is detrimental to human health.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare introduced maximum residue limits (MRLs) for ractopamine in U.S. pork and offal earlier this month. The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) is pushing for a referendum on the policy to allow pork containing ractopamine.