What's the Background?

Despite an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety of ractopamine, Taiwan since 2007 has denied market access for U.S. pork based on an unscientific, zero-tolerance policy for the feed additive. Ractopamine has been determined to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is approved for use in pork production in 26 countries, with 75 additional countries allowing the import of pork from ractopamine-fed hogs even though it is not fed in their domestic herds. In July 2012, the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, which sets international standards for food safety, approved a maximum residue limit (MRL) for ractopamine, which U.S. pork meets. Between 1999, when the FDA approved ractopamine for domestic use, and 2007, there were no known food safety issues associated with U.S. pork exported to Taiwan. In August 2007, the Taiwanese government notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its intention to establish an MRL for ractopamine in pork, basing that decision on the Codex MRL. That has not happened. The Taiwanese legislature in July 2012 passed legislation that set an MRL for imported beef but not for pork. This and other recent efforts by Taiwanese officials to address the ractopamine issue have been met with strong protests from domestic pig farmers.

Why Does It Matter to our Producers?

The United States over the past 11 years, on average, has been the No. 1 pork exporting country in the world; it is the globe’s lowest cost producer of pork. In any given year, the U.S. pork industry ships product to more than 110 countries. Exports add significantly to the bottom line of all U.S. pork producers, contributing $53 – representing 35.5 percent of the $149 average value of a hog in 2017 – to every hog marketed in 2017 when $6.48 billion of U.S. pork was exported. U.S. pork sales to Taiwan in 2017 were valued at $34.5 million. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the United States would ship significantly more pork to Taiwan if it lifted its ractopamine ban.

What is NPPC's position?

Taiwan’s ban on U.S. pork raised with ractopamine lacks any scientific- based justification and should immediately be removed

Additional Resources