Nearly 6,000kg of illegally imported veterinary drugs were seized in Pingtung County, some allegedly from China and India, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday, adding that it is tracing their whereabouts and would recall them from the market.
It is likely the biggest case of illegal veterinary drug imports, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
The Pingtung Animal Disease Control Center, in collaboration with the Kaohsiung Police Department and the Coast Guard Administration, on May 29 searched a veterinary medicine dealer’s office in Sinpi Township (新埤) and warehouse on a farmland in Chaojhou Township (潮州) after being tipped off about the illegal operation.
Photo courtesy of the Pingtung Animal Disease Control Center
Investigators seized more than 40 types of illegally imported medicines — including pharmaceutical ingredients for making antibiotics such as amoxicillin and cephalosporin, as well as nitrofuran and roxarsone, which are banned in the nation, the bureau said.
Without passing safety and efficacy testing, illegal drugs might be applied in excessive dosage and contain toxic heavy metal substances, jeopardizing animal health and the quality of animal products, it said.
The county government has revoked the dealer’s permit and on July 10 forwarded the case to the Pingtung Disrict Prosecutors’ Office for further investigation, it said.
The dealer might have sold the drugs to animal farms in central and southern Taiwan, and the bureau is working with judicial agencies to compile its sales data and possibly the drugs, it said.
People convicted of illegally importing and selling banned veterinary drugs could face a jail term of one to seven years or a fine of up to NT$4.5 million (US$144,769) under the Veterinary Drugs Control Act (動物用藥品管理法), it said.
Those caught using banned veterinary drugs face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000, and repeat offenders within a year would be fined between NT$500,000 and NT$2.5 million, it said.
To make sure they use legal products, husbandry farms should check drug labels for information such as the manufacturer, government permits and effective date, or visit the bureau’s Web site for a list of approved medicine, it added.
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