Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

GPS haunts dead porkers

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday that it will be able to closely track the disposal of dead pigs from now on because the trucks that transport the corpses have to be equipped with a global positioning system (GPS).

A total of 110 trucks certified by the EPA and the Council of Agriculture have installed GPS systems. While the council is responsible for quarantine of animals, the EPA is charge of monitoring the disposal of dead animals to ensure the corpses do not hurt the environment.

The GPS systems gives officials the ability to monitor the transportation of dead pigs, including if there were too many missing signals along the route or if the trucks take varying routes.

One EPA official who asked to remain anonymous said yesterday that the GPS system not only allows the agency to monitor the routes of the trucks, it helps officials match the trucks with officially registered vehicles. Any abnormality will be detected immediately, he said.

The official said the improper disposal of pig corpses poses a threat to human health. Some meat processing factories have used meat from non-freshly killed pigs to make sausages or marinated meat.

Last week, a private slaughterhouse in southern Taiwan reportedly put 2,000kg of such pork on the market.

To encourage truck drivers to install the GPS devices, the council has reimbursed them for purchasing the systems up to a maximum of NT$8,000.

There are about 211 pig farms in the country with herds of more than 3,000 pigs. Fifty-three of these farms have not told the EPA how they will handle the disposal of dead pigs, the agency said.

It said that it will soon launch a large-scale inspection of pig farms.

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