China major source of smuggled meat products: BAPHIQ

Taipei, A total of 293 smuggled foreign meat products have been seized and the owners fined since September, with the lion's share of 61.1 percent of the goods originating in China, a government agency said Monday.

Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 2, 179 meat products brought into Taiwan by passengers have been confiscated by customs officers as part of government efforts to keep African swine fever (ASF) out of Taiwan at a time when the epidemic is spreading in China, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said in a statement.

Meanwhile, 80 cases were discovered among passengers from Vietnam, 13 from the Philippines, six from Thailand, five from South Korea, four from Myanmar, two from Indonesia, and one each from Malaysia, Singapore, Ukraine and India, BAPHIQ said, noting that each passenger involved was fined NT$15,000 (US$488).

Since Taiwan stepped up quarantine for imported meat products in August, when ASF began to spread in China, three of 493 Chinese meat goods seized at Taiwan's entry points have been found to contain ASF virus, it said.

While Taiwan has been on high alert to prevent the disease from entering Taiwan, 82 cases have been reported from 20 provinces, cities and areas in China.

As a law amendment to impose a fine up to NT$1 million on passengers caught smuggling foreign meat products into Taiwan took effect Nov. 30, BAPHIQ also urged the public not to purchase such goods online and warned that those caught doing so could receive the heaviest punishment of a jail term of less than seven years and a fine of under NT$3 million.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel