An amendment to the Veterinary Drugs Control Act (動物用藥品管理辦法) has been sent for legislative review by the Council of Agriculture to enforce increased punishments on the manufacturing, import, sales and usage of forbidden or fake drugs in food animals.
As cases including excessive amounts of lean-meat additives found in meat and antibiotics found in meatballs have occurred in Taiwan in the past few months, causing possible health threats to people who consume the products, the council said it has modified the law to better prevent such occurrences.
The amended draft also stipulates that if people are harmed by the use of such drugs in animals, those responsible will face a punishment of up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to NT$10 million (US$342,407), while if a case results in the loss of human life, a maximum punishment of life imprisonment would apply.
In addition, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine deputy director-general Huang Kwo-ching (黃國青) said that while the personal information of people who use illegal drugs on food animals and the punishments or fines they received were not currently revealed to the public, the amendment has included allowing government authorities to make public the company’s name, address, manager’s name and recorded violations.
Huang said there has been a recorded case of death caused by eating pork containing illegal drug residues in China. Although such cases have not yet occurred in Taiwan, the council has decided to include concepts such as “harm to human health” and “resulting in death” into the amendment to better protect people from severe food safety problems.
The bureau said the amended draft of the act has already been approved by the Executive Yuan and sent to the legislature for review.