KMT members oppose lifting ractopamine ban

Monday, February 20, 2012
By Grace Soong,The China Post

Not only have legislators of opposition parties voiced opposition against the government lifting the ban on the import of beef with residue of lean-meat enhancing substances, legislators of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) have also raised their voices on the topic.

Following fellow KMT Legislator Cheng Ru-fen's (鄭汝芬) lead, Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) announced yesterday that unless the Council of Agriculture (COA) could guarantee that leanness enhancers are perfectly nontoxic and do not pose any harm to the body, she would stand her ground against the notion of importing contaminated meat.

Yang asserted that she would also actively confront Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) on the subject once the new legislative season begins on Feb. 24. Meanwhile, she promotes for support for the amendment of a bill to establish the statutory status of the ban of ractopamine.

The amendment bill Yang initiated — similar to another one that Cheng had started on Tuesday Feb. 14, which called for zero-tolerance of the residues of leanness enhancers — is sponsored by seven others and has received 10 petitions. The number of lawmakers who have signed on has yet to pass the legal threshold, however.

The caucuses or individual lawmakers of the People First Party (PFP), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the Taiwan Solidarity Union have also separately initiated amendment bills of comparable nature.

According to the Chinese-language United Evening News (UEN), governmental departments related to the handling of the U.S. beef issue, including the COA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), have all sent messengers to explicate and persuade KMT legislators to support the government's stance, yet no legislator has yet to positively responded to the persuasion.

Yang and COA Deputy Minister Wang Chen-taung (王政騰) recently spent approximately half an hour discussing the ractopamine issue but had failed to reach any consensus, the UEN reported.

President Avoids US Beef Topic

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday avoided commenting on a Cabinet advisor's recent claim that Jeremy Lin had succeeded in the U.S. National Basketball League (NBA) because he had grown up eating U.S. beef.

Director of China Medical University Hospital's Department of Infection Control Wang Jen-hsien (王任賢) was quoted by the Apple Daily as telling the Cabinet task force on Feb. 10 that Lin's recent successful performances could be attributed to his eating U.S. beef.

The premier dismissed the comment as illogical and non-scientific on Saturday, saying that evidence would be required to prove the claim.

Wang then later elaborated on his statement, explaining that he had said so to highlight the fact that Taiwan lacks clear understanding on what physiological effects leanness enhancers have on and in human bodies.

Ractopamine is not highly toxic to the human body like many in Taiwan believe, Wang said, pointing out that the traces of ractopamine in U.S. beef products should not pose great harm to humans since, just like cattle, the human body excretes ractopamine within 24 hours upon consumption.

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