Mon, Feb 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Dutch pork, viscera declared safe

GOBBLE AWAY Health officials said that the Dutch pork products currently on the market are safe to eat, but that a temporary ban on imports will stay in place

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Health officials yesterday said that products containing pork and pig viscera from the Netherlands are safe for consumers, but kept in place an order on Friday that temporarily banned such imports.

"The products have been confirmed to be uncontaminated by dioxin as we suspected earlier, because they were produced before the matter of dioxin-contaminated feed occured," Hsiao Tung-ming (蕭東銘), deputy director of the Department of Health's (DOH) Bureau of Food Safety told a press conference.

The DOH said it will maintain a ban on such imports from the Netherlands, though, until the matter is fully resolved.

"The ban will continue until the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office files a report clarifying where the imported products come from," Hsiao said.

He added, "even after the ban is lifted, the government doesn't rule out the possibility of inspecting the testing data of shipments."

DOH issued the ban on imports and sales of pork and viscera following reports of suspected cases of pig and chicken dioxin poisoning in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Hsiao yesterday said that the 293.4 tonnes of Netherlands' pork and pig viscera currently in the Taiwanese market have nothing to do with the matter of dioxin-contaminated feed, as it was all produced before the middle of November.

The discovery of the dioxin contamination was first reported by the Netherlands, which on Jan. 25 sent out an EU-wide alert on pig fat originating in Belgium.

The countries have isolated over 650 farms suspected of using dioxin-contaminated feed made in Belgium, and the Netherlands has shut down about 260 farms.

"Two containers of pig viscera imported from the Netherlands are still detained by Customs as we need to find out the production date. We will let them in if they were produced by last Nov. 15," Hsiao said.

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