An official with the New Taipei City (新北市) Department of Agriculture yesterday said his office had launched an investigation to determine whether fish sold and distributed by a Taipei City wholesale market had been caught in a section of the Danshui River from which fish should not be consumed.
Hsu Kai-yu (徐開宇) said the probe would seek to ascertain whether the suspect fish had been sold beyond the Taipei area, and indicated that investigators would take fish samples from the lower reaches of the Danshui River for testing.
The investigation came in response to a story in the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper yesterday that “arsenic-tainted” fish caught in the lower stretches of the river, which flows across the Taipei basin, had been sold in Taipei without officials or consumers being aware of their origin.
The report alleged that unscrupulous fishermen had taken toxic tilapia, and possibly also mullet from the river, and sold their catches to Taipei Fishery Marketing Corp — a major grocery and produce wholesaler in Taipei — from where the fish were distributed to smaller markets around the city.
Responding to the Apple Daily story, Taipei Fishery Marketing Corp general manager Chen -Ching-hua (陳慶華) said the company randomly inspected 7.5 percent of the fish shipped to the public-run market every day to check whether any were tainted with illegal additives.
Screening for pollution such as heavy metals, including arsenic, “is conducted by Taipei City’s Department of Health once or twice a month,” he said.
Also commenting on the report, New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said at a press conference that the water and environs of the Danshui River, which flows across the capital and surrounding New Taipei City, fall under the jurisdiction of the the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ -Water Resources Agency.
Hou said New Taipei City should cooperate with Taipei City and the central government to jointly monitor the river.