The Council of Agriculture yesterday said it on Saturday investigated three animal feed manufacturers that have imported large amounts of cottonseed meal over the past two years and found that the meal had been used in the companies’ products.
The council on Saturday said that the manufacturers had imported the cottonseed meal because of its low price and used it to replace more expensive high-protein ingredients.
The council’s Department of Animal Husbandry yesterday said its understanding is that the three animal feed manufacturers, which imported a total of 7,724 tonnes from Australia, used the cottonseed meal to replace soy bean powder, which is normally used in animal feed.
The percentage of cottonseed meal used in animal feed was between 2 percent and 3 percent, the department said.
Cottonseed meal is often used in animal feed in the US, Australia, China, India and other countries that produce cottonseed, it said, adding that in Taiwan the percentage of gossypol from cottonseed meal in animal feed may not exceed 0.04 percent.
Manufacturers are required to ask the seller to provide an examination report on the quality of the meal, it added.
Due to the relative low volume of cottonseed meal imports, compared with about 2 million tonnes of soy bean powder import, the council did not conduct any sample inspections to confirm the quality, it said.
After investigations into two fertilizer companies’ usage of cottonseed meal as growth substrate in mushroom cultivation bags on Saturday, the council said that a total of 1,374 tonnes of cottonseed hulls (also categorized as cottonseed meal by customs) had been imported from India, Pakistan and China since last year.
The cottonseed hulls do not contain oil and can improve the water retention ability of mushroom growth substrate, it said, adding that gossypol cannot be absorbed by the plant’s root and can be broken down by microbes.
Although its initial findings showed that cottonseed meal was not used for illegal purposes, the council will still send inspection personnel to the companies today to verify the ingredients used in animal feed and test samples to confirm the percentage of gossypol in the products, Huang said, adding that they are also gathering information about the related regulations in other countries.