Chicken eaten for lunch by students at an elementary school was found to contain a banned chemical last month, despite the fact the chicken came from a company that meets certification standards, the New Taipei City (新北市) Government said yesterday.
CAS, or Certified Agricultural Standards, is a mark of quality accredited by the Council of Agriculture (COA). To attain the accreditation, food suppliers must submit an application and open their factories to inspection every other month.
However, even with the CAS mark of quality, tainted chicken was eaten by children at a school in Banciao (板橋). The New Taipei City Government has so far refused to disclose the name of the school, as well as two other schools that were affected.
Chen Yi-fan (陳衣凡), an official with the municipality’s Education Department, said the Consumer Product Commission Council had notified officials late last month that the chicken in the school’s lunches was contaminated. The chemical they found in the meat was an antibiotic agent called Doxycycline.
The sample was collected by the council in March during a string of food safety inspections of school lunches nationwide.
The school acquired the chicken from the New Taipei City Farmers’ Association, which sourced the produce from a Taoyuan-based food company that sells products with a CAS label.
The COA’s Animal Industry Department said it would continue to strengthen the inspection of food products that carry the premium CAS label.
Meanwhile, Wu Cheng-hsueh (吳政學), a division chief of the Consumer Product Commission Council, said the results of the March investigations would be made public after a meeting on Thursday.
According to Wu, during the March investigation, 56 meat items from lunches provided by 40 elementary schools nationwide were collected. Of that total, three chicken items were found to contain banned chemicals.