Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) yesterday said the council would determine the source of “problematic” meatballs within three days after the Hsinchu City’s Public Health Bureau on Monday revealed that meatballs containing excessive amounts of antibiotics had been found.
A test report on 12 brands of meatballs manufactured in the city showed that one popular brand of meatballs contained 0.101 parts per million (ppm) of sulfamethazine, exceeding the regulated safety standard of 0.1ppm, while another brand of meatballs contained 0.0025ppm of chloramphenicol, which is not allowed in meat.
The bureau said ingesting too much of either antibiotic could damage the liver and even cause cancer.
The problematic meatball products have been pulled from the shelves and the bureau will continue to trace the origin of the meat, it said.
At the legislature’s Economics Committee yesterday, several legislators asked Chen whether the council should assist in the search for the origin of the meatballs.
Chen said the problem probably occurred upstream in the production process, likely at pig farms, and the council had begun the process of identifying the source.
“We have found that the source was a food manufacturing company in Yunlin County and from there, we are going to trace the meat back to the pig farms,” Chen said. “We are still trying to identify the pig farms involved.”
“I request that you promise to find the pig farms within three days, because the case will have a severe impact on other pig farmers,” Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) said.
“Sure, three days,” Chen said, adding that the council would also strengthen inspections at pig farms.