Taiwan fines importers of dioxin-tainted crabs from China a record US$3 million

9 tons of hairy crabs had already been sold to clients: FDA

FDA slaps importers of dioxin-tainted crabs with record fines.

FDA slaps importers of dioxin-tainted crabs with record fines. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Two importers who brought dioxin-tainted crabs from China were being fined a record total of more than NT$100 million (US$3.26 million), but several tons of the product have already been sold, reports said Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that tests found dioxin in eight lots of hairy crabs, also known as Chinese mitten crabs, weighing a total of 40 tons. However, at least 9 tons had already been distributed and could not be recovered, the Central News Agency reported.

The companies not only imported crabs with illegal levels of dioxin, but also sold more than 9 tons without having applied for the necessary import licenses, the FDA said. The tainted seafood was bought by clients in New Taipei City, Yilan County, Keelung, and by a fish farm in Miaoli County.

The practices were seriously enough to mandate the maximum penalty of fines 20 times the value of the imported product, according to the FDA. The sum was a record since legislation was made more stringent in 2013 following a spate of food safety scandals.