Two grouper farms in southern Taiwan that were accused by China of using illegal veterinary drugs were found to comply with the legal standards, the Fisheries Agency said on Tuesday after it conducted an investigation.
A notice issued by the Chinese General Administration of Customs on Dec. 30 said that malachite green and crystal violet, which are banned for use in aquaculture in China, were found in live groupers imported from two fish farms in Taiwan.
The Chinese authorities suspended fish imports from the two farms until further notice and said they would step up inspections of Taiwanese fish at the border.
Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times
The Fisheries Agency and the Pingtung County Government launched investigations into the two fish farms, which are owned by Wang Chih-yi (王志義) and Tai Chao-chung (戴兆鐘) respectively.
The agency said it found no residue of malachite green and crystal violet in samples taken at the farms.
Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) told the Central News Agency in a telephone interview that the two farms were found to be in full compliance with the law and used no drugs banned by China.
However, Lin said the agency has also launched probes into other fish farms after the accused owners said that the shipments to China also contained fish from other farms.
Any findings would be made public, Lin added.
The agency would work with local governments to control the movement of fish shipments between farms before they head to the market, Lin said.
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Deputy Director-General Hsu Jung-pin (徐榮彬) said the agency would provide China with the results of its investigation.
Chinese media quoted Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮), a spokeswoman at the country’s Taiwan Affairs Office, as saying that the ban on the two farms was imposed to protect Chinese consumers.
Malachite green and crystal violet can cause genetic mutations and cancer, she was quoted as saying.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan annually exported about 12,000 tonnes of live groupers to China, the Fisheries Agency said.
However, due to logistic disruptions caused by the pandemic, only 6,021 tonnes were exported across the Taiwan Strait in the first 11 months of last year, it said.
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