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Yunlin County drafts new rules to ban ractopamine

The China Post news staff--Yunlin County has drafted regulations banning the sale of ractopamine-containing beef within its boundaries, an official said yesterday.

The Yunlin administration has already forwarded the draft regulations to the council of the southern county for deliberation, said the official.

The revelation made by the county's health director, Wu Chao-chun, came amid news that the central government's attempt to open the doors to ractopamine-containing U.S. beef imports failed to clear the national Legislature.

Following Yilan's latest move to ban the leanness-enhancing drug completely from its markets, Yunlin is the second local government that has attempted to block ractopamine.

Wu told the Yunlin council that the draft regulations are meant to regulate the sale, distribution and use of ractopamine in the county.

Vendors will be required to post certificates that their meat products do not contain ractopamine.

Many local vendors have already passed the county government's ractopamine-free certification, Wu said, adding that a total of 84 vendors had obtained the certificates as of April 30.

From February to May, Yunlin tested 55 meat samples collected from markets, night markets and restaurants, and only one was tested positive for the leanness-enhancing drug, the health director said.

Wu said the county government will step up its inspection of meat products and will come down hard on violators in order to protect the health of consumers.

The regulations are a reiteration of the nation's current ban on ractopamine in locally produced or imported meat products.

Washington, however, has been pressing Taipei to lift the ban, and Taiwan's central government has also been eager to do so in order to facilitate free trade talks with the United States.

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