As Taiwan's parliament prepares to vote on a bill allowing the import of U.S. beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, Taiwanese activists staged a protest against "toxic beef."
Naharnet reported activists protested outside "the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei" carrying placards proclaiming "American bullies, toxic beef."
Protest organizer Chen Man-li said "We don't welcome U.S. beef containing ractopamine. We want the U.S. to know that even though Taiwan is small, the Taiwanese people want to live with dignity."
Taiwanese lawmakers are due to vote on lifting the ban against U.S. beef containing ractopamine. Debates continue over the safety of the drug which the U.S. has approved since 2003.
The China Post reported Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji said the agricultural council had "no doubts about ractopamine in terms of food safety.” His argument was countered by Huang Chao-shun who maintained the "Council of Agriculture has not yet offered any new scientific data on the safety of ractopamine."
Taiwan's Vice President Wu Den-yih presented a less than compelling argument when she recently said “after the government lifts its ban on imports of U.S. beef containing ractopamine, the public can choose whether or not to eat it.”
The American Institute in Taiwan defines the controversial drug ractopamine hydrochloride as "a feed ingredient that helps increase the animals' ability to efficiently turn what they eat into lean muscle rather than fat. This leads to reduced feed demand, less waste and higher quality and more affordable meat for consumers." It notes that countries including Canada, Mexico and Japan have determined meat from animals fed with ractopamine "is safe for human consumption."
The drug is however banned in Europe and China, as well as Taiwan. According to Sott 160 countries have a ban in place and Sott expounds on why the drug is deemed unsafe for human consumption.