Health Minister Chen Shih-chung has responded to criticism of the government’s plans for labeling imported US pork by suggesting the labeling policy could boost sales of domestic pork.
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has decided to open up Taiwan to imported US pork containing the leanness-enhancing additive ractopamine. The easing of restrictions will take effect January 1 next year.
While the decision to ease the restrictions removes a major stumbling block in Taiwan-US trade ties, it has been controversial. The opposition KMT has been particularly vocal in opposing the move.
During a meeting of the Legislature’s health and welfare committee Wednesday, KMT lawmakers criticized the government’s decision not to require labels indicating the ractopamine content of US pork.
KMT lawmaker Chiang Wan-an said that only requiring a label indicating the origin of pork will leave consumers unable to tell whether the pork they buy might contain ractopamine. Fellow KMT lawmaker Lin De-fu also criticized the proposed labeling system, saying that not requiring a ractopamine content label would render the system pointless.
In response to the criticism, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said that only requiring a label indicating origin could encourage consumers to avoid US pork altogether and boost sales of domestic pork.