Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Probe into `tarred duck' uncovers no traces of asphalt

ALL CLEAR All licensed slaughterhouses in the country were found to have been using resin-based feather removing gels, harmless to humans

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The initial results of a government probe into 11 licensed duck slaughterhouses in the past few days showed no asphalt was used in the process of removing duck feathers, nor has a nationwide raid on poultry vendors found any trace of "tarred ducks."

The team was set up by the Department of Health (DOH) and Council of Agriculture (COA) to check poultry processing in traditional wet markets after media reports claimed some unscrupulous processors may have removed duck feathers by using tar.

The reports triggered concerns that such a chemical residue on duck products would be potentially harmful to consumer health and may have a carcinogenic effect.

According to the inspection team, all licensed slaughterhouses in the country were found to have been using resin-based feather removing gels, a substance harmless to human health.

Sung Hua-tsung (宋華聰), head of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said yesterday that the resin gels could turn black after being re-heated several times, saying the unknown black substance left on the beaks of some defeathered ducks may be this resin.

However, it is still too early to say whether the country is free of unscrupulous poultry processors using toxic asphalt to remove feathers, Sung said, noting that health units are still working on probing "unknown black chunks" collected from local slaughterhouses, and the results will not be released until tomorrow.

The COA and DOH called on consumers to purchase duck meat from licensed companies, and to check first whether there are any black spots or a smell of asphalt on them.

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