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March 27, 2017

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Imported ribs destroyed after banned feed additive detected

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A shipment of frozen pork ribs imported from the United States was destroyed after it was found to contain the banned substance ractopamine, a drug put in feed to make pigs raised for meat leaner.

The Keelung Customs Office said the 1,360-kilogram shipment of pork ribs was brokered through customs on March 29. The importer decided not to return the pork ribs to the shipper, because the value of the shipment, NT$47,790 (US$1,520), was lower than the transportation costs US$2,000.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislators Liu Chien-kuo, Huang Jen-shu and Chen Ying, along with officials from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, and customs, were on hand to see the pork ribs taken out of their container and destroyed in an incinerator.

Chen said the frozen pork ribs were found to have contained 1.18 ppb of ractopamine, an additive allowed by only five countries and banned by Taiwan.

Liu said that recently, a customs official was found to have collaborated with a trading company in Taipei City to allow in frozen Matsuzaka beef from Japan, which has been barred from entering Taiwan since 2001 after Japan reported an outbreak of mad cow disease.

Because of such examples of customs corruption, Liu and Chen said that they will propose in the legislature that in the future, the process of destroying any seized commodities should be recorded for monitoring purposes.

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