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Health minister denies setting allowable level for ractopamine

2012/04/23 13:01:57

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta denied Monday a media report that the Department of Health (DOH) has arbitrarily set 1 billion per part as the maximum permissible level of ractopamine, a livestock feed additive, in beef imports.

A local daily said in a front page report that while Taiwan residents have been occupied with the looming electricity rate hikes, the health department has quietly and arbitrarily reached a decision on the controversial issue of allowing ractopamine residue in beef imports.

"The report was not correct," Chiu said on the sidelines of a legislative committee meeting.

The report also questioned the department's alleged move to set 1 microgram per kilogram of body weight as an acceptable daily intake (ADI) level of ractopamine.

However, Chiu said that in a meeting on April 11, the department discussed the safety level for human daily ingestion of ractopamine but did not address the minimal risk level for the drug, Chiu said.

Noting that the ADI is a factor in calculating the maximum allowable residue of drugs in food products, Chiu said it was generallyagreed at the meeting that an ADI of 1 microgram of ractopamine per kilogram of body weight would be an acceptable level.

Chiu said his department will follow whatever decision is reached by the Legislative Yuan on the controversial issue.

The Legislature was scheduled to start a new round of reviews of draft amendments to the Food Sanitation Act on Monday, with a view to lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports containing ractopamine residue.

Kang Jaw-jou, director-general of the DOH's Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that the health department will not set a maximum limit for ractopamine residue until the process of law revisions has been completed.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Sofia Wu)
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