Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Crackdown on swill regulations

Staff writer, with CNA

Regulations regarding feeding food scraps to pigs are to be more stringently enforced from next month as part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever in Taiwan, Council of of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said on Thursday.

Starting on Dec. 1, the council, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Administration, is to inspect about 2,000 pig farms that use food scraps as pig feed, including 375 that are registered with the administration, Huang said.

The regulations stipulate that swill must be heated to 90°C before it is fed to pigs, he said.

Some small pig farms have not been following the regulations, which has left a loophole in disease prevention efforts, he said, adding that those breaching the regulations risk being fined NT$6,000 to NT$30,000.

The council decided to more stringently enforce the regulations after a meat product brought by travelers from China to Kinmen was found to be contaminated with African swine fever.

Although the virus detected in the meat product has not reached any pig farms, the case has sparked concern that contaminated meat could enter the food waste collection system and reach pig farms.

Since an outbreak of African swine fever in China in August, the disease has spread rapidly to 13 provinces, cities and territories, which has prompted China to ban the use of swill as pig feed in the those areas and neighboring regions.

The virus can survive for up to 1,000 days in frozen meat and 100 days in refrigerated meat.

It presents no known risk to humans, but for pigs it is often fatal.

With no effective treatment or vaccine, it could take a heavy toll on the local farming industry if it enters Taiwan, Huang said, adding that farmers should guard against any outbreak by using tight biosecurity measures.

Those caught smuggling meat products from countries and areas affected by African swine fever or foot-and-mouth disease risk a maximum fine of NT$15,000, but that would be raised to NT$300,000 should a bill clear the Legislative Yuan, Huang said on Wednesday.

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