No Chinese ready-to-eat meals (MREs) with pork ingredients have been imported into Taiwan, the Customs Administration said yesterday after a netizen posted a photograph on Facebook of the products, sparking concern that they could be a pathway for African swine fever to enter the nation.
MREs are packaged food that were developed as rations for soldiers.
Netizen Liu Chi-wei (劉志偉) on Thursday shared a photo of several Chinese-made MREs, two of which said in simplified Chinese characters that they were shredded pork with noodles and beef sausage.
Screen grab from Ruten.com
Liu wrote that they tasted better than rations provided to Taiwanese military personnel.
Another netizen shared a Web site showing Chinese MREs for sale on Ruten.com.
The Council of Agriculture in December last year formed an African swine fever prevention alliance with online shopping businesses, which pledged to stop selling pork products and tighten control over products sold on their platforms.
The council has contacted management personnel at Ruten.com, who said that it stopped the seller’s operations last year, as it was promoting pork products, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said on Friday.
The site that sold Chinese MREs was created in 2015, before China reported its first African swine fever outbreak in August last year, Feng said, adding that customs officials would investigate whether the products in the photo on Facebook had been smuggled into Taiwan.
Customs records show no cases of Chinese MREs being imported since October last year, the customs agency said yesterday.
Importers would have to obtain permission from the Food and Drug Administration to bring such products into Taiwan, it said, adding that most foreign MREs are imported from the US, Norway, Germany and Japan.
All packages that enter Taiwan undergo X-ray scans and customs personnel have been instructed to pay close attention to whether declared goods match their documents, it said.
African swine fever has spread to all Chinese provinces and regions after Hainan Province on Friday reported two cases.
As of yesterday, four Asian countries — China, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia — had reported outbreaks of the disease.
Additional reporting by CNA
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