TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four hog farms have been fined for using kitchen waste as feed without prior approval, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said Saturday (Aug. 28).
Citing the Feed Control Act, BAPHIQ said the pig farmers were each fined NT$30,000 (US$1,075) for not having obtained prior approval from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to use kitchen waste as swine feed, according to a CNA report.
The violations were related to preventing the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus, which is said not to harm humans but can be fatal to pigs and could devastate the country's high-value pig farming industry. By law, kitchen waste must be steam-heated at 90 degrees Celsius or above for about an hour. This is to kill off any possible traces of the ASF virus in the food.
There are about 6,400 pig farms in the country, of which only 676 have been certified to use kitchen waste to feed their 430,000 animals.
As of Saturday, 10 farms were found to have violated rules on swine feed. On Friday (Aug. 27) authorities announced Taiwan would impose a one-month ban on kitchen waste as swine feed through September.
Farm operators will not be allowed to receive kitchen waste from suppliers starting Monday, the CEOC said.
Taiwan has been on high alert after the ASF virus was found in 71 kilograms of meat that had been illegally imported from Vietnam last week.
The EPA has asked local governments to prepare for the month-long ban and inform kitchen waste suppliers to properly treat and store food waste sourced from restaurants, government agencies, and schools during the September period. EPA chief Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) also requested the public cut back on food waste and dump raw meat into garbage trucks for incineration rather than into food recycling bins.
Meanwhile, Pingtung’s Department of Agriculture announced that a special center has been established to ramp up inspection of hog farms across the county. County Magistrate Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) said that if Pingtung is hit by ASF, the situation would be even graver than foot-and-mouth disease since it has the most hog farms in the nation.
The ASF virus can survive 100 days on refrigerated pork, 1,000 days on frozen pork, and up to one month in a pigpen, Pan said, and it can also spread easily through food waste and indirectly from contact with contaminated objects, such as vehicles and clothing.