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Aug 16, 2007

Farmers Party rears its head

With the recent ractopamine related news :

TELLING PORKIES? : Health officials denied that the decision to drop a ban on pig feed additive had been influenced by a desire to smooth the way for US pork imports

The Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Department of Health (DOH) issued a joint statement yesterday announcing that the ban on the use of the pig feed additive ractopamine would soon be lifted....

DOH officials said a consensus was reached after a panel of 19 experts were consulted on the safety of ractopamine use....

However, Huang said the COA had not set a firm date for the lifting of the ban. The DOH, in turn, said it could not finalize the allowable residue limit for ractopamine while the ban is still in place.

Ractopamine, an additive used to promote the growth of lean meat, became an issue last month when two shipments of US pork were found to contain residues of less than 1ppb of the banned substance. Marketed under the trade name "Paylean" by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, the additive is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Subsequent testing of domestic pork revealed the presence of ractopamine in three out of 43 samples, the Bureau of Food Sanitation (BFS) said....

BFS Director Cheng Huei-wen (鄭慧文) denied charges that pressure had been brought to bear by US interests to lift the ban on ractopamine in order to smooth the way for continued US pork imports.

Bearing that and Michael Turton's latest post which touches on the 1997 domestic pork market disaster, it's perhaps no surprise to hear the Taiwan Farmers Party is getting involved.

They've come out from the dark, sending a bill to the legislature today and asking all parties to support it. Essentially, the bill removes the power to make decisions like this from the executive and instead would put it in the hands of a panel of experts who then advise the Legislative Yuan, who would presumably set any standards. They also expressed disappointment with the DPP's policy on using the farmers land and said the party was acting too ineffeciently.

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