U.S. Pork Exports Rebound as Taiwan Reconsiders Ractopamine Controversy

Based on negative publicity regarding the use of ractopamine, U.S. pork exports to Taiwan plummeted in 2021 and 2022, reports the U.S. Meat Export Federation. 

Jihae Yang, USMEF vice president for Asia Pacific, recalls, on Jan. 1, 2021, Taiwan began to allow the importation of pork containing ractopamine.

“The response from the public was an anti-ractopamine demonstration in Taipei, featuring thousands of people and cities and the province authorities campaigning to undermine the credibility and safety of U.S. pork,” Yang adds. “It included the heavy testing on U.S. pork distributed in the market eventually making restaurants and retailers reluctant to feature U.S pork.”

Despite the negativity, the global pork supply dynamics have led U.S. pork to rebound in 2023. Specifically, Yang says the U.S. industry is capitalizing on tighter supplies of European pork entering Taiwan and of domestic pork in the country, which have lead to increased prices for Taiwanese consumers.

“This year, we see more inquiries on U.S. pork from foodservice and the wholesale customers. U.S. pork market share has increased from 1.3% to 9%,” Yang notes, with increased interest in the sparerib, loin and tenderloin in foodservice and branded belly and the collar butt in high-end retail markets.

Many top pork processors in Taiwan are still cautious about using U.S. pork, yet Yang remains optimistic.

“We believe the acceptance will increase throughout the chain, creating more favorable environment for end users to feature U.S. pork,” Yang says.