Unwanted pork should be thrown away: EPA

INCINERATION::Four more pork products seized at airports were found to contain the African swine fever virus, bringing the total to 18 as of yesterday

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 2

Raw pork products should be disposed of in regular garbage bins for incineration, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday, after media reports questioned whether the agency’s policy contradicts that of the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Raw leftovers were previously used to make compost, but in light of the African swine fever threat, the agency earlier this year began encouraging people to treat unwanted pig products as general garbage to be incinerated, EPA Deputy Minister Shen Chih-hsiu (沈志修) said.

The agency has required local environmental bureaus to advertise the policy on garbage truck loudspeakers, he said.

However, the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday reported that COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) disapproved of the EPA’s policy.

Wild animals might eat discarded pork from garbage cans and transmit the virus if African swine fever enters the nation, the report cited Huang as saying.

Shen and Huang later told a news conference in Taipei that their policies did not differ and hugged each other for media photographs.

Unwanted pig products that originated in Taiwan should be disposed of in garbage bins, while Chinese pig products should be sent to the council for disposal, Shen said.

Hog farmers who still use leftovers to feed pigs should apply for EPA approval by Thursday next week, or else switch to fodder or stop raising pigs, he added.

As the disease has not yet spread to Taiwan, there is no problem with incinerating unwanted pork products, Huang said.

If the disease enters the nation, the council would fully compensate hog farmers who report infections and whose pigs are culled, he said, adding that farmers who conceal information would not be compensated.

The council on Thursday announced that four more pork products seized at airports were confirmed to contain the African swine fever virus, with the number of infected products reaching 18 as of yesterday.

To ensure that every piece of luggage is checked, the council is to install 16 additional X-ray scanners at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport before the Lunar New Year holiday begins, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said.

Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that visitors should not be importing pork products in the first place, and that no country at risk of an African swine fever outbreak is concerned with how a culprit would pay the fine.

Su made the remarks in response to media queries on how to deal with visitors who bring pork products through customs, but do not have enough cash with them to pay the fine, as people are only allowed to bring cash totaling NT$100,000 into the nation.

To maintain national security, concerted efforts and stringent law enforcement are needed, Su said.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin