The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Monday reminded hog farmers to process kitchen waste by boiling or steaming it at a high temperature before using it as pig feed, adding that violators could be fined up to NT$3 million (US$105,393).
The EPA’s warning came after a pig carcass washed up on the shores of New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) on Sunday. The body tested positive for African swine fever.
African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that infects pigs and there is no vaccine against it. It cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans, and is not considered a threat to human health.
Genome sequencing of the virus found in the infected pig showed a partial match of two different strains of the disease, both of which have previously been recorded in China, the Central Emergency Operation Center for African Swine Fever said.
An inspection of the 11 pig farms within a 10km radius of where the carcass was found and random testing for the virus showed no signs of the disease, the center said.
The EPA said that it had inspected all 694 swine farms across the nation that have been approved to use swill as feed, and all were found to be processing kitchen waste according to regulations.
The farms are part of an EPA project to allow the traditional method of using refuse to feed pigs to continue, deputy captain of the EPA’s environmental inspection team Lee Chin-fu (李金福) said.
The team has inspected and will continue to call on farms that are part of the project to observe proper procedures and process kitchen waste by boiling or steaming, Lee said.
EPA data showed that local branches of the agency had since Feb. 1, 2019, inspected 9,279 hog farms to ensure that feed is up to sanitary standards.
Restaurants providing kitchen scraps to unregistered hog farms or illegally disposing of refuse could be fined between NT$6,000 and NT$3 million for contravening the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), Lee said, adding that the same amount of fines apply to establishments that accept kitchen waste from restaurants, but fail to process them properly.
A lower fine of NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 applies to hog farms that fail to properly process kitchen waste from households, he said.
The EPA added that it has established multiple channels to process refuse in an effort to cut down incinerator workloads, spending about NT$1.3 billion to assist local governments in purchasing equipment for dehydration and composting, as well as establishing biofuel power plants.
Additional reporting by CNA
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