Vietnam pork imports to face investigation


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Quarantine authorities pledged Saturday to step up border inspections in the wake of information that a batch of Canadian pork is being transshipped to Taiwan from Vietnam — a foot and mouth disease (FMD)-infected country.

The transshipment, if allowed into Taiwan, will seriously threaten the country’s efforts to be listed as a fully FMD-free country, observers said. Taiwan is currently listed by the World Organization for Animal Health as an “FMD-free country with vaccination.” Pan Lien-chou,president of the Republic of China Swine Association, told CNA that the 3,000 metric ton shipment of fresh Canadian pork was denied entry for unknown reasons after arriving in Vietnam around two months ago.

To reduce its losses, the Vietnamese importer sold the pork to a Taiwanese importer at a low price of US$0.7 per pound for import into Taiwan, Pan said. Sung Hwa-tsung, director-general of the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, confirmed that he obtained the information Thursday and also received a similar report from Pan. Sung said his bureau has ordered quarantine officials at every port of entry to carefully examine every batch of meat imports and notified customs authorities to help block any attempts to smuggle the pork into Taiwan.

He pointed out that Taiwan, which works hard to protect livestock and animals in the country from FMD, imposes a strict ban on fresh meat imports from FMD-infected countries, while such imports not originating from FMD-infected countries will also be rejected if they have stopped in FMD-infected countries en route to Taiwan, Sung explained.

Quarantine officials will check warehouse receipts to determine if the imports have stopped in FMD-infected countries and will also examine package seals to make sure they have not been tampered with, he said.