TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over 80 pork importers in Taiwan on Thursday (Dec. 3) vowed they will not order ractopamine-laden products in a move to address public fears about the feed additive.
Representatives of the businesses, which together account for over 80 percent of the country’s pork market, gathered in Taipei to assure consumers that all their imported meat would be labeled as "ractopamine-free," reported CNA.
The pledge is being seen as a joint effort by industry players to find a way out of the impasse stemming from public concern over the potential health impact of the leanness-promoting drug. President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) announcement in August that restrictions on American pork with traces of the additive will be relaxed next year has caused polarized public discourse along party lines.
Government officials have said mandatory labeling could constitute a trade barrier likely to draw the ire of the U.S. and provoke retaliation, as was the case in Thailand. The relaxation of the import rules is believed to be a quid pro quo that the Tsai government hopes will lead to bilateral trade talks with the U.S.
CNA quoted officials as saying that the Taiwanese government will not interfere with private sector rejection of the products as a way to boost competitiveness, as long as a legal approach is taken.
Despite the fact that Taiwan has allowed beef containing ractopamine since 2012, restaurants and retailers in the country have moved quickly to play down the suggestion that their products may contain the additive. Earlier this week, Carrefour Taiwan refuted Taoyuan city councilor Wang Hau-yu's (王浩宇) claim that its American beef contained the compound, and former Cabinet Spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) resigned last month after causing a public stir when he falsely alleged a beef noodle restaurant in Taipei used ractopamine-laden meat.