Taiwan wants to ban pork on flights from areas affected by African swine fever

Passenger on flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan complained about the lack of choice

More banned meat products were found at Taiwanese airports Thursday.

More banned meat products were found at Taiwanese airports Thursday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - After a passenger complained that only a pork meal was available on a flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan, a legislator on Thursday proposed an immediate ban on the practice.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said it would look at the procedures followed by other countries before reaching a decision.

The concern about pork follows the introduction Tuesday of higher fines designed to prevent the spread of African swine fever from areas including China and Hong Kong to Taiwan.

The basic fine was hiked to NT$200,000 (US$6,489), with repeat offenders facing a NT$1 million fine.

A passenger on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan said that he was served a meal on board which contained pork. There was no alternative, and it was only after he asked that he was informed it was pork, reports said. Cathay Pacific later said the meat did not come from any region where African swine fever had been found.

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Bikhim Hsiao (蕭美琴) said the CAA should immediately ban pork meals on flights between areas affected by African swine fever, such as China, and Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported.

The Ministry of Transportation responded that at present, it advised airlines not to serve pork products, but it would ask the CAA to look into how other countries handled the problem.

Another measure to stop the entry of potentially infected pork was a stepping up of postal inspections, according to CNA. Post officials said that each day about 500 to 600 packages arrived from China, with one or two dozen found to be containing meat products.

The items were either being sent back to China or destroyed with the agreement of the recipient, CNA reported.