August 9, 2011


Taiwan's illegal additive use more rampant than estimated


Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) said that the number of pigs in the country fed with a banned leanness-enhancing drug could be much higher than an earlier estimate.


Hsu Tien-lai, director general of COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), broke his agency's findings in the wake of a huge police bust against a drug-distributing crime ring.


Based on the profits that the ring collected, authorities estimated that the drug had been fed to 750,000 pigs from January 2010 to June 2011 - five times more than the number of pigs in which the COA actually detected during random checks in the same period.


Police on Wednesday (Aug 3) busted a five-member ring who smuggled in beta-agonist from China to produce the drug, ractopamine. The drug was then sold to pig farms on the island, and generated TWD50 million (US$1.73 million) in profits for the quintet.


Based on the profits, the bureau estimates that 75,000 tonnes of tainted pig feed had been sold. If every pig was fed 100kg of feed for a month before its slaughter, then 750,000 pigs must have been fed.


The bureau originally detected only 147,500 pigs that had residue of ractopamine. Hsu said that the bureau would work with police to continue cracking down on such illegal practices in pig farms.

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