Coast Guard intercepts two shipments of smuggled mushrooms

TAIPEI (CNA) – Two shipments of mushrooms, believed to be from China, were seized last week in the offshore county of Kinmen, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday.

The mushrooms, found in 60 boxes at Liaoluo Port on Friday and Saturday, totaled 760 kilograms, the CGA said.

Samples have been taken for testing and if it is confirmed that the mushrooms were smuggled from China, charges will be brought against the importers, in accordance with the law, the Kinmen Coastal Patrol Unit said Sunday.

Unit captain Wu Chien-kuan (吳建冠) said there is still high demand in Taiwan for such products, even after the Feb. 2-10 Lunar New Year holiday, and unscrupulous traders are trying to smuggle in substandard products from China for profit.

Most substandard agricultural products from China do not go through any quality control process and therefore may contain toxic substances like lead, sulfur and arsenic, which can damage the human respiratory system, liver and kidneys, Wu said.

The CGA will not let up its anti-smuggling and law enforcement operations, he said, urging the public to call the CGA toll free hotline 118 to report any suspected unlawful activities.

By Lee Shien-feng and Emerson Lim