《TAIPEI TIMES》 COA tightens swine fever regulations
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung gives a presentation on the African swine fever situation in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Wu Hsin-tien, Taipei Times
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: A hog carcass found on a beach in Kinmen County has tested positive for the disease, with its virus sample found to be identical to one reported in China
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Online shopping platforms face a fine of up to NT$150,000 （US$4,918） if found illegally selling meat products from overseas, Council of Agriculture （COA） Minister Chen Chi-chung （陳吉仲） said yesterday, as the council tightened several regulations in a bid to keep African swine fever at bay.
Chen made the announcement at a news conference in Taipei after a meeting of the Central Emergency Operation Center for preventing African swine fever.
The council has proposed two amendments to the Act for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease （動物傳染病防治條例）, which are expected to pass their third reading at the legislature tomorrow, he said.
One amendment introduces a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 for e-commerce platforms that illegally sell imported meat products, while the other introduces a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million for people spreading misinformation about animal diseases, Chen said.
Although several e-commerce platforms in December last year vowed to partner with the council in an attempt to prevent the disease entering the nation, imported pork products are still occasionally being sold online, he said.
Imported meat products are required to adhere to the nation’s quarantine regulations, whether they are imported from areas affected by African swine fever or not, Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng （黃金城） said.
However, at present there is no penalty for online shopping platforms selling overseas meat products and the council can only ask them to withdraw the illegal products, Huang said.
In addition to Europe, 10 Asian nations have reported cases of African swine fever — China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar, East Timor and the Philippines — the council said.
A hog carcass found last week on a beach in Kinmen County has tested positive for the disease, with its virus sample found to be identical to one reported in China.
Twelve hog carcasses infected with the disease have been found in Kinmen and Lienchiang counties since China reported its first outbreak in August last year.
Since the council in December last year raised the fine for those illegally importing pork to NT$200,000 for first-time offenders and NT$1 million for repeat offenders, it has issued 614 NT$200,000 fines, of which 544 were Chinese pork products brought in by tourists, council data showed.
While Beijing earlier this month launched 26 measures that it claimed are beneficial for Taiwanese, it should first work with Taiwan to contain African swine fever for the benefit of the whole of Asia, Chen said.