Pig farm with contaminated pork disciplined

TAIWAN - The Council of Agriculture (COA) has ordered a small pig farm in the central county of Changhua to suspend sale of its pigs for two months after its pork was detected to contain traces of a banned veterinary drug.
calendar icon 28 July 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Huang Kuo-ching, a section chief with the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, made the announcement at a news conference held at the Department of Health (DOH) which reported earlier in the day the discovery of a small amount of ractopamine in a sample of pork provided by the health bureau in Miaoli County in northern Taiwan for testing.

Huang said the ractopamine-containing pork sold in a traditional market in Miaoli County came from a small ranch in Changhua County's Yenpu rural township which raises some 800 pigs and delivers 40 to 50 pigs to Miaoli every two weeks.

In addition to demanding the ranch suspend movement or delivery of its pigs for two months, the COA has also directed relevant local authorities to slap the ranch owner with a fine ranging between NT$6,000 and NT$30,000, Huang said, adding that the ranch will be allowed to sell its pigs only after health authorities determine that all of its pigs are free of any banned substances.

Moreover, Huang said the COA will track down the supplier who has provided ractopamine to the hog ranch.

Ractopamine is legally used in some countries as a feed additive to promote the growth of lean meat in pigs, but banned in Taiwan. The COA decided last October to ban all drugs used by farmers as food additives to boost growth of lean meat in pigs, including ractopamine, after cases were reported abroad concerning the effect of such drugs on consumers' heart and neural systems.

Speaking on the same occasion, Hsieh Ting-hung, deputy head of the DOH's Bureau of Food Safety, said the bureau has ordered the Miaoli public health office to destroy all pork that was detected to contain ractopamine.

The DOH has asked local health authorities to step up pork inspection since July 20 after two shipments of pork imported from the United States were detected to contain traces of ractopamine. "We have received 39 samples from various cities and counties and only one of the 29 samples that have been tested for ractopamine residues failed the test," Hsieh said.

Meanwhile, Miaoli County authorities said earlier in the day that all of the ractopamine-containing pork has been destroyed in line with the DOH instruction for protection of public health.

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