Sat, Dec 22, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Seized pork product tests positive for swine fever

ENDLESS BATTLE:The Council of Agriculture said the wonton wrapper was the seventh sample that has been confirmed to contain meat from virus-infected pigs

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A Chinese woman surnamed Huang yesterday holds bags of ground pork that she brought from Fuzhou in China’s Fujian Province at a customs counter at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Another sample taken from a Chinese meat product intercepted by customs officials has tested positive for African swine fever, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday, as it reaffirmed its resolve to prevent the virus from entering Taiwan.

The sample in question came from confiscated yanpi (燕皮), a type of wonton wrapper made from pork that is popular in China’s Fujian Province, COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said.

Among 602 Chinese meat products sent for testing, it was the seventh sample confirmed to contain the virus, he said.

Port of Taichung officials on Sunday intercepted a Taiwanese traveling from Fujian by ship, Huang said, adding that the yanpi was just one of the illegal products they were carrying.

The other six samples that tested positive for the virus were confiscated from Oct. 31 to Thursday, and came from sausages produced in China’s Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Sichuan provinces, as well as Macau, council data showed.

Although China as of yesterday was said to have reported 99 cases of African swine fever across 23 provinces, the number seems “meaningless,” given that China tends to conceal facts, Huang said, adding that the actual number might be 100 times more.

First-time offenders caught with pork from virus-infected areas face a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,494), while those who are repeat offenders face a maximum fine of NT$1 million, the council said.

No Europeans, Americans or Japanese have been caught carrying illegal meat products, said Huang, who earlier this week told reporters that most of those caught have been Chinese or Vietnamese spouses traveling on Republic of China (Taiwan) passports.

“Eating Chinese meat products is not good for one’s health” as the products could be made of meat cut from virus-infected pigs, he said.

The council has previously said that the virus, although deadly for pigs, cannot affect humans.

The council earlier this month said that Taiwan would join the World Organization for Animal Health’s East Asian task force for combating the spread of the disease and that the first meeting could be scheduled “at the beginning of next year.”

The council has not yet received any notice confirming the meeting’s venue and time, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Deputy Director-General Tu Wen-jane (杜文珍) said.

However, the meeting would be an important occasion for officials from Taiwan and other Asian countries to exchange information about the disease, she added.

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