Taiwan poses penalties for ractopamine use
Ractopamine is used by farmers in other countries to promote the growth of
lean pork, but local officials are determined to stamp out its use in
Offenses against the Veterinary Drugs Control Act will
be subject to harsher penalties if a package of proposed amendments is passed by
the legislature, an animal health official said on Saturday.
Yeh Ying, deputy director of the
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said the proposed
amendments to increase the penalties for the use, manufacture or distribution of
ractopamine would be sent to the legislature for approval in the next session.
Even though the US and other countries allow ractopamine to be used as a
feed additive to boost the growth of lean meat in pigs, the Council of
Agriculture has no plan to lift its ban on the drug, Yeh said.
the bureau had already tightened enforcement of the law, noting that it began
requiring livestock and poultry inspectors to do hair tests for ractopamine
residue as of July 1. The bureau has also asked the courts to adopt a stricter
attitude toward the use, import, manufacture and marketing of banned drugs.
Yeh's comments come in the wake of a scandal
about traces of ractopamine found in two shipments of imported US pork and some
samples of local pork and goose meat. Police and customs officers seized a large
amount of raw materials used for production of ractopamine in raids around the
country last week.
Fines and prison
At present those
who feed ractopamine to pigs or poultry can be fined. In addition, the bureau
wants the prison terms for importers and manufacturers of the banned drug
increased from no more than three years to between three years and seven years,
plus a fine while the penalty for dealers or distributors would be raised from a
maximum of two years to a maximum of three years plus a
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