Taipei, The regulations regarding feeding food scraps to pigs will be more stringently enforced from next month as part of the government's efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Taiwan, Deputy Agriculture Minister Huang Chin-cheng (???) said Thursday.
Starting Dec. 1, the Council of Agriculture (COA), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), will inspect some 2,000 pig farms that use food scraps as pig feed, including 375 that are registered with the EPA, Huang said.
The relevant regulations stipulate that swill must be heated to a temperature of 90 degrees Celsius before it is fed to pigs, he said.
Some small pig farms in Taiwan have not been following the regulations, which has left a loophole in the disease prevention efforts, Huang said, adding that violators risk being fined NT$6,000 to NT$30,000 (US$194-974).
The COA and EPA decided to more stringently enforce the regulations after a meat product brought by travelers from China to Kinmen was found to be contaminated with the ASF virus.
Although the virus detected in the meat product has not reached any pig farms in Taiwan, the case sparked concerns that ASF contaminated meat could enter the food waste collection system and reach pig farms in Taiwan.
Since an outbreak of ASF in China in August, the disease has spread rapidly to 13 provinces, cities and territories, which has prompted China to ban the use of swill as pig feed in the those areas and neighboring regions.
The ASF virus can survive for up to 1,000 days in frozen meat and 100 days in refrigerated meat.
ASF presents no risk to humans, but for pigs it is often fatal.
With no effective treatment or vaccine, it could take a heavy toll on the local farming industry if it enters Taiwan, Huang said, adding that farmers should guard against any outbreak by using tight biosecurity measures.
At present, travelers caught smuggling meat products from countries and areas affected by ASF or foot-and-mouth disease risk a maximum fine of NT$15,000, but that will be raised to NT$300,000 after a law amendment clears the Legislative Yuan, Huang said Wednesday at a press conference.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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