Sat, Jul 12, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Lichee inspection runs late

By Roger Cheng  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

A vendor yesterday promotes her newly arrived and improved ``glutinous-rice lichees,'' which are cheaper and juicier than the traditional nutlike fruits.

PHOTO: YANG SHIH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Due to the late arrival of a Japanese plant quarantine inspector, the Council of Agriculture yesterday urged Japan to extend the quarantine-inspection period for lichee and mango exports from Taiwan.

The late arrival of the inspector, who was originally scheduled to be in Taiwan on May 15, was due to the SARS epidemic.

Before exporting mangos and lichees to Japan, according to Tokyo's plant quarantine rules, the fruits must be inspected by a Japanese quarantine official in Taiwan.

As the productive season of these fruits usually extend from May to July and it's now mid-July, Ko Wen-jun (葛文俊), chief of the Agriculture Product Quarantine Section at the Plant Quarantine Division, said the government would like to negotiate with Japan to extend the local quarantine inspection.

"Owing to the SARS epidemic ravaging Taiwan, Japan did not send the inspector until yesterday," Ko said.

The Council of Agriculture invited the inspector to come on May 15 when the productive season started, "but it would be a huge pity for our fruit exporters and farmers if the inspector went back on July 31 as scheduled," Ko said, urging the Japanese authorites to allow for a longer inspection time.

However, the inspector from Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has already started the quarantine procedures.

The Council of Agriculture says in order to sell the fruit in Japan, mangos need to be heat-steamed at 46.5℃ for over 30 minutes in the packing factories, and lichees at between 30 and 41℃ for 45 minutes and at 46.2℃ for 20 minutes.

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