Safety first when it comes to US meat: Minister

The health minister, Chen Shih-chung, says political or diplomatic factors will not be allowed to dictate policy on imports of US beef and pork.

Restrictions on imports include a ban on the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, which is present in products from the US. This has been a source of friction in trade between the US and Taiwan.

Chen had previously told the local Apple Daily newspaper that the government should not allow politics to influence its decision on whether to lift the restrictions. But during a session of the Legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee on Wednesday, KMT lawmaker Lee Yen-Hsiu expressed doubts about the sincerity of Chen's words. She said she wonders if the government has already decided to lift the restrictions, and if the health minister's statement might be part of an act. She called on the minister to uphold the insistence on food safety.

Chen said he told the Apple Daily about the trade and diplomatic issues the government may face regarding US beef and pork. But he said that food safety will remain the health ministry's only concern.

Source: Radio Taiwan International