Lawmakers propose school lunch ractopamine pork ban


Source: China Post


May 16, 2016, 12:27 am TWN

TAIPEI — A Kuomintang (KMT) legislator and a People First Party (PFP) lawmaker are proposing a law amendment that would ban the use of pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine and fresh food that has been genetically modified in school lunches.

Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) of the KMT and Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) of the PFP said they were making the proposal to ensure the health of Taiwan’s school children, who have no choice over what not to eat at lunches offered by school authorities.

Chiang said although the Codex Alimentarius Commission has set a limit on beta-agonist residues in beef and pork, the European Commission still bans any traces of ractopamine in food meant for local consumers. Like paylean and topmax, ractopamine is an additive that is used to induce leanness in animal meat.

Taiwanese laws also ban the use of leanness-enhancing additives in meat products. But under pressure from the United States, the Legislature in 2012 voted 63-46 to lift the ban on importing U.S. beef and the following year the government amended the food safety law to allow imports of beef that contains less than 10 ppb of ractopamine.

During an interview with the media Sunday, Chiang said he was aware that the upcoming Democratic Progressive Party might be forced to open Taiwan’s market to U.S. pork that contains ractopamine.

“Though we might be able to mandate the labeling of such pork, allowing adult consumers to choose not to buy or eat imported pork, our school children do not have such a choice," he said.

He said he has visited schools and found that pork is much used in school meals. “If ractopamine pork is allowed to be imported, school meal makers will immediately see their cost for pork cut by half and use it often on their menus for kids, whose physical development I fear might be adversely affected," Chiang said.

Therefore, he and Chen decided to put forth a proposal to amend the School Health Act, which was revised last year to outlaw the use of GM food and primary processed food in school lunches.

“For the sake of children’s health, particularly during the time when they are growing fast, we urge our legislative colleagues to add a provision to the act that also bans the use of meat in school meals containing any beta-agonists including ractopamine," Chiang said.