No illegal drug residue found in Taiwan fish farm probe

An investigation conducted by the Fisheries Agency (FA) into two grouper farms in southern Taiwan found both to be in compliance with existing standards, with no residue of illegal veterinary drugs as China had claimed, the agency said Tuesday.

A notice issued by China's General Administration of Customs on Dec. 30, 2021 noted it had found malachite green and crystal violet, both of which are banned for use in aquaculture in the Chinese market, in live groupers imported from two fish farms in Taiwan.

The Chinese authorities suspended fish imports from the two farms until further notice and indicated they would step up inspections of Taiwanese fish at the border.

The FA and Pingtung County government launched investigations into the two live fish farms owned by farmers Wang Chih-yi (???) and Tai Chao-chung (???) in a bid to clarify the situation.

According to the FA, groupers were sampled from the two fish farms but no residue of malachite green and crystal violet was found.

Commenting on the results, FA Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (???) told CNA in a phone interview that the two fish farms were found to be in full compliance with the law and used no drugs banned by China.

However, Lin said the FA has also launched probes into other fish farms after the accused fish farm owners said the shipments of live groupers they sent to China were mixed with fish from other farms.

He added that any findings will be made public by the agency.

In the future the agency will work with local governments to control the movement of fish shipments between farms before they head to market, the FA official added.

In response, Hsu Jung-ping (???), deputy director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), said the agency will provide China with the results of its investigation into the two fish farms.

According to Chinese news media, China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (???) said the decision by the Chinese customs to ban imports from the two Taiwanese grouper farms is an issue of food safety and protecting Chinese consumers.

She said malachite green and crystal violet can cause genetic mutations and cancer among other defects.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan used to export approximately 12,000 metric tons of live groupers to China annually, according to the FA. However, due to logistic disruptions caused by the pandemic, only 6,021 metric tons were exported to China from January to November 2021, FA data showed.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel