The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy, defended US exports to the island as being “safe,” after politicians protested a decision to allow imports of pork containing a leanness-enhancing additive, ractopamine.
Ractopamine is a drug added into animal feed that some farmers give to pigs. It is banned in the European Union and China, but the American Institute claimed on Thursday that all US exports to the island and its other trade partners were safe and meet the same high standards that are also used in the States.
“Safe here. Safe there. Safe everywhere. That’s one of the reasons American food is so popular in Taiwan,” the statement said.
“When political figures propagate disinformation and raise unfounded anxiety among Taiwan consumers, it is a disservice to everyone,” the institute stressed. “We call on all parties to approach this issue responsibly and on the basis of science.”
In late August, this institute welcomed President Tsai Ing-wen’s statement that Taiwan “will move quickly to lift restrictions on imports of US pork and beef.”
Currently, only around one percent of pork consumed in Taiwan comes from the US, but the main opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT), criticized the president’s move, citing food safety concerns, and held noisy protests.
The mayor of the central Taiwanese city of Taichung, Lu Shiow-yen, who represents KMT, expressed her concerns about the pork imports to the top US diplomat in Taiwan, Brent Christensen, on Wednesday.
Tsai’s move to lift a ban on US pork and beef imports starting from January was seen as one of the steps preceding possible talks on a bilateral trade agreement with Washington.In November, thousands of people marched in front of the presidential office building in Taipei to demand the reversal of the decision.
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