TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — False claims about imported pork being Taiwanese could result in fines of up to NT$4 million (US$143,000), the Council of Agriculture (COA) minister said Saturday (Dec. 26).
The Legislative Yuan on Thursday (Dec. 24) approved nine government executive orders allowing the import of ractopamine-treated U.S. pork and beef from cattle older than 30 months.
The measure, which will enter effect on Jan. 1, has caused widespread unease in Taiwan over the safety and the labeling of the meat products. One popular restaurant posted a sticker claiming it only used Taiwanese pork, but it was discovered that one of its dishes was being prepared with pork imported from Spain, CNA reported.
COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told reporters that starting Jan. 1, if businesses whose pork is officially labeled as being from Taiwan are found to be using imported pork, they will face fines ranging from NT$40,000 to NT$4 million.
Restaurants and food stalls all need to label the place of origin of their ingredients, Chen insisted. For its part, the government will release data daily on the quantity of pork imported and on locally slaughtered hogs with the aim of informing the public about the latest developments.
In addition, a NT$10-billion fund will be set up to help local hog farmers withstand the impact of competition. The minister promised the fund would launch on Jan. 1 in order to assist the sector.