Two pig feed factories in Tainan County were being probed yesterday by the Tainan Prosecutor’s Office with the banned drug ractopamine, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said.
The drug is used to promote the growth of lean meat in livestock, but remains in the meat after slaughter, the COA said.
Consumption of ractopamine-tainted meat may cause nausea, an increased heart beat or even death, the COA said. Ractopamine has been banned in Taiwan since 2006.
“The Tainan Prosecutor’s Office on Friday evening got a lead saying that two factories were mixing ractopamine in pig feed,” COA section chief Cheng Chun-bin (鄭純彬) said.
The names of the factories have been withheld by prosecutors.
Around midnight, Tainan prosecutor Su Jung-chao (蘇榮照) led a squad of police to the factories and found 75kg of the banned drug, Cheng said.
“The amount is enough to be mixed into 75 to 150 tonnes of pig feed … It’s a good thing we found it before it went into the market,” Cheng said.
The owner and employees of the two factories have been taken into custody for questioning, Cheng said.
They will likely be indicted for using banned drugs and for documentary fraud, the section chief said.
Asked if consumers should be concerned about pork safety, Cheng said that the COA and prosecutor offices nationwide have been working very hard on preventing ractopamine from being used.