The controversy over lifting the ban on US pork containing ractopamine is not only a food safety issue, but also a communication and management problem, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
Ko, who is chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), was addressing a party forum in Taipei.
Ko said he recently saw a video clip on the Internet of a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker asking Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to apologize for his past opposition to imports of US pork and beef, seeing that he had now reversed course.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Ko cited Su as asking the lawmaker if he would also apologize, as the KMT had supported such a policy in 2012.
The KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should both apologize to the Taiwanese public for reversing course, Ko said, adding that it was “ridiculous” to see politicians inventing phrases to explain their behavior, for example explaining their inconsistency by claiming that there were “different background settings at different times.”
The biggest problems with the policies of allowing such imports is communication and management, he said.
The DPP government announced the policy through administrative order without proposing it at the Legislative Yuan, Ko said, adding that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) did not even attend the TPP’s public hearing on the policy.
Ko said that clear information on the origin of pork products was important, but the proposed labels would not be sufficient as they would not actually contain information on whether there is ractopamine in the products.
Policymaking relies on “public opinion, and professional evaluation and values,” Ko said, adding that “long-term benefits should not be sacrificed for short-term gains, the benefits of a majority should not be sacrificed for a few people and the nation’s benefits should not be sacrificed because of political calculation.”
Ko said he has been criticized for not having a “central philosophy,” adding that the TPP stands for “creating a coprospering society,” and he strives “for people to live a better life.”
“It is strange that people who do not have a philosophy accuse us of not having a philosophy,” Ko said, adding that his philosophy as a surgeon was to save his patients and allow them a better life.
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