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French ractopamine-free pork to arrive in May

TAIPEI--A shipment of 400 tons of French pork is expected to arrive at Kaohsiung Harbor in late May and might drive down pork prices, said agricultural and economics officials.

The officials said the French pork which would be the first shipment since Taiwan's March approval of the importing of French pork is free of ractopamine, an animal drug forbidden in Taiwan but used in many countries to enhance the leanness of livestock.

In addition to France, the officials said, Taiwan has long-allowed imports of U.S. pork, but only when certified by the U.S. Agriculture Department as being free of ractopamine, a condition branded by the U.S. as an unfair trade barrier, since the drug is a legal additive to animal feed in the U.S.

The French pork was imported by Taiwan's National Animal Industry Foundation at the urging of Taiwan's representative to France, Michel Ching-long Lu, in an attempt to push down pork prices, which peaked after dysentery decimated Taiwan's piglets earlier this year.

Officials said they expect the pork bought from France will arrive before June 2, which is the Dragon Boat Festival when pork consumption traditionally increases.

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