Taiwan academics, civic groups and representatives of various meat organizations are expressing concerns over the presence of the feed additive ractopamine in U.S. meat imports, according to reports, saying the government should be cautious about allowing products containing the drug.

At a public hearing, opponents said the use of ractopamine would bring additional and unnecessary risk to food safety, and that more tests need to be conducted. “Despite available data showing that the effect of ractopamine on the human body is relatively low, why do we need the additional risk when we can exclude the drug from our food?” said Chou Chin-cheng, dean of National Taiwan University's School of Veterinary Medicine.

One possibility is selling U.S. meat products only at American wholesale stores, such as Costco, said Huang Kuo-ching, deputy director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. Another is to gain access to import ractopamine-free meat products from the U.S., as the EU does, where the drug is banned.