Sat, Dec 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Fine for illegal meat imports raised to NT$1 million

By Sean Lin and Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporters

Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Starting this month, people who illegally import meat products into the nation could be subject to a fine of NT$1 million (US$32,415) after the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed an amendment to the Act for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease (動物傳染病防治條例).

To prevent the nation from being affected by an African swine fever outbreak that has been spreading across China since August, lawmakers passed an amendment to Article 45-1 of the act that increased the fine for people who attempt to import meat products without declaring them to customs and having them inspected by relevant authorities.

The Executive Yuan had earlier proposed an amendment to raise the maximum fine from NT$15,000 to NT$300,000, which was further increased to NT$1 million by lawmakers following a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee on Wednesday.

The fine is to apply to visitors or companies that import controlled meat products into the nation by boat, motor vehicle or aircraft, the amendment says.

It stipulates that imported pork products that should be inspected include meat products, as well as intestines.

Meat products contaminated with African swine fever pose a grave threat to the nation’s pig farming industry, as they can be mixed into swill and trigger an outbreak, said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), a sponsor of the amendment.

The World Organisation for Animal Health in May last year declared the nation free of foot-and-mouth disease and the government has been making every effort to keep swine fever at bay, he said.

As the virus can survive in frozen pork for up to 1,000 days, there is a real need to raise the fine to deter people from illegally importing meat products into the nation, he added.

The Council of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said that since September, it has issued 265 fines of NT$15,000 to people trying to import meat products from areas affected by swine fever, of which 160 were Chinese meat products and 73 were Vietnamese.

The bureau is next week to start inspecting hog farms nationwide that use leftovers to feed pigs to verify if they disinfect the leftovers at 90°C for at least one hour as required by the Environmental Protection Administration, bureau Secretary-General Cheng Chun-pin (鄭純彬) said.

Farm owners would face a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million if they fail to report any swine fever infection, he said, citing Articles 12 and 43 of the act.

The council also plans to stage a drill on Dec. 21 in Pingtung County’s Kanding Township (崁頂) simulating an outbreak of the disease, Cheng said, adding that nearly 100 representatives of animal quarantine agencies from 22 municipalities, council officials and hog farmers would participate.

This story has been viewed 16569 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top