The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday announced that chief director of the DOH's Bureau of Food Safety Hsiao Tung-ming (蕭東銘) will be demoted following the `toxic crabs' controversy.
The current chief of the DOH's Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis, Chen Shu-kong (陳樹功) will be taking Hsiao's place, the department said in a press release yesterday.
After permitting the importation of live crabs from China for more than one month, the DOH disclosed on Wednesday that the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection under the Ministry of Economic Affairs had discovered earlier this week that several batches of the crabs contained cancer-causing nitrofurans.
On Wednesday the DOH announced that with immediate effect, travelers arriving in Taiwan will not be allowed to bring hairy crabs into the country.
Minister of Health Hou Sheng-mao (
In the future, if imported foods are found to be harmful according to the DOH's standards, a maximum fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,000) will be levied, said the department in the release.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus yesterday demanded that the government immediately purchase and destroy all hairy crabs imported from China.
The caucus also urged the government to conduct a thorough examinations of all merchandise imported from China.
Meanwhile, TSU caucus whip Liao Pen-yen (
Liao said that compensation for consumers and businessmen was necessary because "it is the carelessness and idleness of the administration that contributes to their loss."
TSU Legislator Lai Shin-yuan (
It was difficult for the government to verify the accuracy of the examination documents that come with the products, she said.
The government obviously made a mistake in allowing the crabs to be imported or carried by passengers to Taiwan, Liao said, leading TSU lawmakers to burn several Chinese hairy crabs at the conference.
Speaking at the Legislative Yuan, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday instructed the administration to adopt stricter screening measures on imports of live animals and plants as part of efforts to protect public health and the country's wildlife and environment.
Su added that the relevant government agencies must be held accountable for the recent controversy involving the import and consumption of the Chinese hairy crabs.
Additional reporting by CNa