Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Lo Chih-cheng reaffirmed Friday the party's position of retaining a zero-tolerance policy on the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine in meat.
DPP-governed cities and counties will convene a joint meeting March 12 to discuss measures to counteract the government's initiative to allow imports of U.S. beef containing ractopamine, Lo announced at a press conference.
He made the remark following a comment made a day earlier by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton that the DPP set a permitted level for ractopamine when it was in power in 2007 and informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the decision.
According to Lo, the level was not the government's final call and was merely a proposal aimed at soliciting opinions across party lines on the issue.
The permitted level reported to the WTO was based on the established research in the international community at the time and was not based on the results of local experts, he said.
The proposal was made five years ago, and more domestic research on the topic is now available, he went on.
Opposition legislators are trying to push through an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation that
Lo said that despite the DPP holding the same position as the minor opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) on imposing a zero-ractopamine policy, it does not agree with a TSU proposal to push the amendment through to a second reading without a committee review at the Legislature.
Lo said the TSU's proposal would lead to a month-long cross-party negotiation, the process of which would not be transparent to the public.
The DPP proposed that the draft bill be left at the Legislative committee for continual and transparent discussion, he said, adding that individual lawmakers will need to come forward to express their own opinions on the topic instead of hiding behind their parties.
(By Yeh Su-ping and Ann Chen)