Illegal pork can lead to deportation, ministry warns


Migrant workers who are caught importing meat products illegally from areas affected by African swine fever or who receive such products without notifying the authorities would be fined, have their work permits revoked and would be deported, the labor ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Taiwan is on high alert because international shipments contain meat products that have tested positive for African swine fever, the ministry said.

A package from Thailand was reported by a post office in Tainan on December 15 last year after it was discovered that it contained sausages. A lab test on December 17 found the sausages to contain the virus.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Plant and Animal Health Inspection and Quarantine via CNA

The first result was confirmed by a test carried out by the Council of Agriculture on December 22.

As the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, the ministry reminded migrant workers not to illegally import meat products, buy such products of unknown origin online, or ask friends or relatives. family members to send them to Taiwan.

Those convicted of illegally importing such products face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to NT $ 3 million (US $ 108,342), he said. .

Any package containing meat products sent by family or friends overseas should be handed over to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Office or local animal welfare office for destruction. the ministry said, adding that violations would result in fines of up to NT. $ 150,000 based on the Employment Services Act (就業 服務 法).

The government could also revoke an offender’s work permit, ask him to leave the country and ban him from working in Taiwan, he said.

The ministry also reminded employers to inform their foreign staff of the laws and regulations on the prevention of African swine fever.

Employers should also ensure that food waste from migrant workers’ dormitories is not sent to pig farms, the ministry said.

African swine fever is not known to infect humans, but can be fatal to pigs, and an outbreak could devastate the country’s high-value pork industry.

The law requires kitchen waste to be steamed to no less than 90 ° C for about an hour to kill the virus.

On August 23, Kaohsiung police seized 40 packages of grated chicken and 20 packages of beef jerky, weighing a total of 17 kg, from the dormitory of a Vietnamese migrant worker. The shredded chicken then tested positive for African swine fever.

A week earlier, 71 kg of meat products illegally imported from Vietnam were seized in the city of New Taipei. It was later discovered that they also contained the virus.

Migrant workers with questions about African swine fever should call the 1955 counseling and protection hotline, the ministry said.

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