Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beef Crisis Follies

One good thing about Taiwan's political crises is that sooner or later some legislator will have a moment of outstanding looniness that provides comic relief.... in this case, a DPP legislator suggests that the nation's soldiers consume a kilo of domestic pork a day to alleviate the ills of the nation's pork producers....
DPP Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) recently said each of the nation’s 270,000 servicemen and women should be made to eat 1kg of pork a day to reverse falling prices because of consumer worries over the use of leanness-enhancing animal feed by the livestock industry.
....the math doesn't really work, as the paper claims thats like 10 pork chops a day, but it turns out our proud defenders are already following this policy with respect to fruit.....
Ministry officials said that in late 2008, when a glut of oranges was plaguing farmers, the armed forces had launched a 20-month campaign to increase its orange consumption.

By the end of that campaign, the military had consumed more than 600 tonnes of oranges.

Soon afterward, banana farmers saw prices plummet, so the ministry bought more than 100 tonnes of bananas, which made some servicemen feel they were being “force-fed” fruit, ministry officials said.
The article ends by noting that the reason people are suspicious of pork is because the government doesn't enforce the laws. All it has to do to cure the problem is start enforcing the laws about what can be in pork. It should also be noted that the lack of law enforcement is a subsidy to pork producers.....
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green sleeeves said...

The additive in pigs "salbutamol sulfate" is a beta-agaonist that is clinically used to treat asthma. It is administered in babies , even premature babies. I don't know if the level of residual amount in pigs, if it doesn't cause tachycardia (fast heart rate) or stimulate the CNS, one can hardly claim it to be "toxic".

In a way one cay say all medications are toxic. Yet the crux of the issue is, is it possible to mass produce produce (ha ha, English!) in modern agriculture? If not, isn't it the government's responsibility to find out what is the maximally allowable level and implement the policy, and reenforce it?

Unfortunately no rational discussion is possible in the political climate in Taiwan given it has become so polarized. KMT was against the import of the US beef in 2007, now DPP is expected to do that.

On the US beef import, I don't deny the potential hidden agenda of the beef import (under the table deal for helping Ma's election, smearing Taiwan pigs to salvage US beef etc), but I do doubt the validity of the danger of US beef.

Well, perhaps that comes with the territory in a democracy, like people make a big fuss out of Romney's dog, or Obama's birth certificate, centrists don't have a say !

Michael Turton said...

I agree -- the threat is not proven. But the real issue is opening the market so everyone can import such beef and pork.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. salbutamol is known as albuterol. Albuterol is administered to treat acute bronchospasm, it is given as nebulizer treatments AND not as injections to children/ babies. I don't know if Taiwanese pig farmers gave it as nebs, I highly doubt it.

Xopenex is the drug preferred generally over albuterol here because albuterol takes longer to clear from the body via the renal route. However around 10 percent of albuterol are bound to plasma proteins (stuff in blood), and prolonged use of albuterol can cause hypokalemia (low potassium) which is more serious than tachycardia in certain segments of population.

So stay away from pork blood sausage or pork blood rice cakes, that is where you will get a larger dose of th drug.


Anonymous said...

That's funny--the last I heard, Chu Hung-yuan was blaming George Kerr for 228. Can't he make up his mind?

DW said...

Interesting link on the Confucius Institutes, but there's one minor error: it's the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, not UCLA's. As USC enrolls more Chinese students than any other campus in the US I'm curious as to how unbiased the reporting will be...

Haitien said...

Speaking anecdotally from being stationed at an air defense artillery battery, most troops would probably welcome being force-fed chicken drumsticks, fried chicken cutlets, pineapples, and curry - the mess hall typically runs out of those in a hurry. On the other hand, the pork we get (usually extremely tough cuts stewed in 滷汁) get a mixed reception. Leafy greens usually end up in the food waste bin to get fed to the hogs.

Don't even get me stated on the field rations (hardtack).