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Taiwan seeking to attend global food standards meeting

2012/06/26 19:36:21

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture said Tuesday it is seeking to attend an international food standards meeting in Italy next month as a visitor.

The meeting, organized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), will take place July 2-7 in Rome and will discuss the use of the drug ractopamine in the livestock industry.

A non-member of the United Nations, Taiwan attended the Codex meeting last year in Geneva as a visitor, said Wang Cheng-teng, the council's deputy minister.

If Taiwan cannot attend this year as a visitor or observer, it will try to obtain firsthand information on the proceedings via non-governmental organizations or other connections, he said.

All Codex meetings are open to the general public, within the limits of space. Visitors wishing to attend the meetings are required to apply one month in advance, according to the Codex website.

The Codex, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization in 1963, sets international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice that contribute to the safety, quality and fairness of international food trade, its website said.

Taiwan currently bans ractopamine in meat products and its use in livestock rearing, but the government is planning to conditionally lift its ban on beef imports containing residues of the leanness-enhancing drug. To this end, the government has proposed an amendment to the country’s food safety law, which is now before the Legislature.

(By Yang Shu-ming and Maia Huang)