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Consumers' Foundation Calls for Certification System for Pork

by 5m Editor
8 February 2007, at 9:41am

TAIPEI - The Consumers' Foundation called for the government Wednesday to help build a certification system for pork products amid reports that tainted pork from sick and dead hogs has once again appeared in markets around Taiwan.

Consumers' Foundation Chairman Cheng Jen-hung said relevant government agencies' efficiency is open to doubt, with illicit selling of sick and dead hogs to consumers occurring every year since 2001 even though the matter has been one of the top 10 consumer news items every year.

Cheng said building a pork certification system is the only effective way of curbing tainted pork sales, as the business is too lucrative to be ignored and the penalties meted out by the government are too lenient.

Since violators of regulations banning the sale of pork from sick and dead hogs are usually released on bail of just NT$50,000, Cheng suggested that the government impose heavier penalties on violators.

Meanwhile, Luo Chiu-ying, a member of the Consumer's Foundation, said that to counteract the marketing of tainted pork, consumers should avoid buying pork from unknown sources or pork at prices much cheaper than street value.

Buying pork products carrying the CAS label at supermarkets or hypermarkets is also safer, Luo added.

Luo said the foundation has found that only a small number of meat dealers have been involved in the crime -- Taiwan people consume about 9 million head of hogs each year, with about 30,000 head slaughtered every month -- and the latest news report about the busting of a ring in the southern county of Pingtung indicates that only about 20 to 50 sick and dead hogs have been sold to meat markets per day recently.

The Pingtung District Prosecutor's Office a day earlier released 11 suspects on bail after law enforcement officers detained them Monday on charges of selling pork from sick and dead hogs.

A total of 5,500 kg of tainted pork was reportedly seized in a raid along with the Pingtung ring, which included seven people licensed to transport sick and dead hogs for safe disposal, as well as several hired hands.

The latest crackdown in Pingtung County came after law enforcement agents in Yunlin County, central Taiwan, raided five illegal slaughterhouses Feb. 1, arresting one suspect and seizing 30 metric tons of tainted pork believed to have been stashed to meet the increased demand for meat during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, officials from the Council of Agriculture's Animal Industry Department said they will accelerate the installation of global positioning systems (GPS) on vehicles contracted to transport sick and dead hogs for safe disposal so that they can be monitored.

The officials said they will also step up raids on unlicensed slaughterhouses and push for the implementation of a pork certification system, beginning with supermarkets and hypermarkets.

ThePigSite News Desk

5m Editor