Sun, Jan 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Public can trust local pork, council says

STOP DISINFORMATION:The Council of Agriculture said that on Tuesday it reported a Facebook post with false information on pork in Taiwan to the Taipei Police Department

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung, second right, participates at a news conference in Taipei yesterday to promote safe Taiwanese pork.

Photo: CNA

People can safely eat domestic pork, as African swine fever has not spread in Taiwan, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday, calling on people not to disseminate misinformation about the disease.

Demand for pork products usually rises ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, but false information about the disease has affected domestic pork sales, Chen told a news conference in Taipei.

A netizen named Gina Lin this month on Facebook wrote that the disease had been found in Taoyuan and warned people not to eat pork products, the council said.

Disinformation could undercut quarantine work and might trigger panic, the council said, adding that on Tuesday it reported the post to the Taipei Police Department.

The council is confident that African swine fever has not spread in the nation and domestic pork products are safe, as they undergo strict checks before reaching the market, Chen said.

While the disease is fatal to pigs, the virus is not transmitted to humans, National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Toxicology professor Chiang Chih-kang (姜至剛) said, adding that people should not worry about risks to human health.

The council said it has instructed customs officials to check carry-on luggage of visitors from areas that are more likely to be the source of infection — China, Hong Kong and Macau — after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Monday ordered that all such luggage be manually checked.

The council on Dec. 18 increased fines for first offenders caught illegally carrying pork products from areas infected by the disease to NT$200,000 (US$6,485) and repeat offenders to NT$1 million.

Since then, customs officials as of Friday had intercepted 62 illegal pork products from China, while no travelers arriving from elsewhere have been intercepted, council data showed.

Since China reported its first infection in early August last year, the disease has spread to its 24 provinces and regions, with 107 cases reported as of yesterday, council data showed.

Mongolia on Monday reported its first outbreak, making it the second Asian nation to report the disease.

Later yesterday, the council said that another pig carcass found on an unpopulated island in Lienchiang County on Thursday has tested positive for African swine fever.

The virus type was an exact match to the virus in China, it said, adding that the carcass might have floated from China.

It was the second infected pig found near Taiwan proper after a carcass found in Kinmen County last month tested positive for the disease, the council said.

However, it said they were isolated cases.

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