TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s legislature passed a bill that would allow some US beef imports that contain small amounts of ractopamine, a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef, according to news reports. The bill does not include pork.

Taiwan will allow up to 10 parts per billion of ractopamine, which is equal to recommendations from the Codex Alimentarius Commission but short of the 30 parts per billion limits allowed in the US. Established by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and fair practices in trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, adopted a standard for ractopamine on July 4.

Ractopamine has been approved for use in 26 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea. However, the European Union, China, Taiwan and Thailand currently ban imports of pork from pigs fed ractopamine.

The ractopamine issue is considered politically divisive in Taiwan, although the move is aimed at soothing tensions between the US and Taiwan. The US suspended Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks with Taiwan in 2007 because of the ractopamine ban.