October 27, 2003



Taiwan to Adhere to EU Standards in Inspection for Chemical Residues in Aquaculture Products


Taiwan will follow European Union standards in inspecting for chemical residues in aquaculture products, says a senior Taiwanese official on October 25.


The director of the Council of Agriculture's (COA's) Fisheries Administration, Hu Shin-Hwa, made the remarks on Saturday, October 25, while briefing local aquaculture farm operators on the country's new fishery products inspection rules.


Mr. Hu traveled to National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in southern Taiwan to give the briefing after the E.U.'s recent rejection of 30 tons of Taiwan fishery products exported between August and October for allegedly containing possible carcinogens such as chloramphenicol and furazolidone, which are used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria.


He told aquaculture farm operators and seafood processors that the European Union has raised chemical residue standards. "This is a general world trend. We must follow this trend to maintain our market niche and business reputation," he added.


In the past, the maximum chloramphenicol and furazolidone residue was set at 0.3 parts per billion. "In the future, we'll comply with the E.U. standard of no more than 0.1 parts per billion," Mr. Hu said.


Furthermore, he said, the number of cases to be subject to spot checks as well as the frequency of inspection wills all be substantially raised.


The stricter residue standard will increase the cost to NT$5,000 per inspection from the current NT$2,000, Mr. Hu said, adding that the COA will also invest an additional NT$50 million in acquiring new inspection equipment.


According to Mr. Hu, inspectors from fishery and health departments are visiting major aquaculture farms around the island to check whether banned chemicals are being used.


"Operators who are found to have been using banned chemicals will be fined between NT$6,000 and NT$30,000 (US$176 and US$880)," Mr. Hu said.


Taiwan produces some 350,000 tons of aquaculture products a year, worth an estimated NT$30 billion. Annual aquaculture exports account for about one-third of total production.