Migrant workers who are caught illegally importing meat products from areas affected by African swine fever or receive such products without notifying the authorities would be fined, have their employment permits revoked and be deported, the Ministry of Labor said in a statement on Friday.
Taiwan has been on alert as international deliveries have been found to contain meat products that tested positive for African swine fever, the ministry said.
A package from Thailand was flagged by a post office in Tainan on Dec. 15 last year after it was found to contain sausages. A lab test on Dec. 17 found that the sausages contained the virus.
Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine via CNA
The initial result was confirmed by a test conducted by the Council of Agriculture on Dec. 22.
With the Lunar New Year holiday approaching, the ministry reminded migrant workers not to illegally import meat products, buy such products from unknown origins online, or ask friends or family members to send them to Taiwan.
People who are found to have illegally imported such products face a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to NT$3 million (US$108,342), it said.
Any parcels containing meat products sent by family or friends overseas should be given to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine or a local animal protection office to be destroyed, the ministry said, adding that breaches would result in fines of up to NT$150,000 based on the Employment Service Act (就業服務法).
The government might also revoke an offender’s employment permit, ask them to leave the country and bar them from working in Taiwan, it said.
The ministry also reminded employers to inform their foreign staff about African swine fever prevention laws and regulations.
Employers should also ensure that food waste from migrant workers’ dormitories is not sent to pig farms, the ministry said.
African swine fever is not known to infect humans, but can be fatal to pigs, and an outbreak might devastate the country’s high-value pig farming industry.
The law requires kitchen waste to be steam-heated at no less than 90°C for about an hour to kill the virus.
On Aug. 23, Kaohsiung police seized 40 packages of shredded chicken and 20 packages of beef jerky, weighing 17kg in total, from the dorm room of a Vietnamese migrant worker. The shredded chicken later tested positive for African swine fever.
A week earlier, 71kg of illegally imported meat products from Vietnam were seized in New Taipei City. They were later also found to contain the virus.
Migrant workers who have questions about African swine fever should call the 1955 counseling and protection hotline, the ministry said.
INCREASED RISK: The Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant has higher immune evasive capacity, but the CECC is more concerned about newer subvariants such as XBB and BQ.1 With the peak season for infectious respiratory diseases coming to an end, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that details of the next phase of lifting COVID-19 masking rules — removing the mask requirement in most indoor settings — are to be announced this week. Discussions on lifting other COVID-19 restrictions are also being held, including further easing border control measures, home isolation requirements and revising the definition for reporting cases, while also downgrading COVID-19 to a lower category of notifiable communicable disease, said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC. As the daily
‘UNACCEPTABLE’: The foreign ministry said that China’s behavior broke international law, while Johnny Chiang was worried such balloons could be used against Taiwan A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the US was yesterday condemned by officials in Taipei and sparked calls for the government to plan countermeasures. The Pentagon on Thursday said it had detected a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the country. Beijing has said the balloon is a civilian meteorological device that drifted into US territory after being blown off course. The National Security Bureau and Ministry of National Defense should investigate whether surveillance balloons could be used against Taiwan and prepare to respond to such acts, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s postponement
PEACE AND STABILITY: The two nations called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked France and Australia for voicing their support for Taiwan, saying that peace across the Taiwan Strait is crucial to the stability and prosperity of international society. France and Australia on Monday pledged to deepen ties with Taiwan and reiterated their support for its participation in international organizations at this year’s Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations in Paris. The meeting between French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (黃英賢) and Australian Minister for Defence Richard Marles was the second
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM: Czech president-elect Petr Pavel said his nation stands firmly on the side of democracy and would boost cooperation with Taipei in all aspects Czech president-elect Petr Pavel spoke by telephone with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday, a highly unusual move given the lack of formal ties and a diplomatic coup for Taipei. Tsai spoke with Pavel for 15 minutes in a harmonious atmosphere, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said, adding that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) was also present during the conversation. Lin quoted Pavel as telling Tsai that Taiwan is a trustworthy partner, adding that the Czech Republic stands firmly on the side of democracy and supports Taiwan in maintaining a lively democratic system free from authoritarian coercion. The Czech Republic would