Taiwan Reinforces Pork Inspections After Mislabeling Scandal

In response to a recent mislabeling incident involving U.S. pork, Taiwan’s FDA tightens inspection measures on imported pork, reinstating a batch-by-batch check for the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine. The move, effective immediately, applies to all imported pork, irrespective of its country of origin.

The decision comes on the heels of the recall of 100,000 kilograms of sliced U.S. pork by two Taoyuan-based frozen food companies due to mislabeled country of origin information. Despite the ban on ractopamine-laden pork being lifted in January 2021, following U.S. pressure, recent events have spurred Taiwan’s FDA to reevaluate its inspection protocols.

FDA Director-General Wu Show-mei explained that Taiwan had been conducting batch-by-batch inspections since 2021, initially at a 100% rate, and had found no traces of ractopamine in imported pork over two years. However, the sampling rate was later reduced to 20-50% due to perceived low risk.

Following the mislabeling incident and in light of public concerns over food safety, Taiwan’s FDA has decided to revert to a 100% inspection rate for all pork products, regardless of their origin. Wu mentioned that adjustments in inspection frequency can be made under the Regulations of Inspection of Imported Foods and Related Products.

Notably, the article does not elaborate on how increased border checks for legally imported pork with ractopamine address the issue of illegal labeling involving pork from countries that use the drug, such as the U.S.