Of­fi­cials un­earth fish­ery sup­ply­ing poi­sonous eels

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUN

The Fish­eries Agency ( ) un­der the Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture ( COA, ) yes­ter­day re­vealed that of­fi­cials un­earthed the eel fish­ery in Yun­lin that was re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing 3,000 kilo­grams of poi­sonous live eels to man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Ming Chuan In­ter­na­tional ( ) bought 3,000 kg of live eels from the Yun­lin fish­ery ear­lier in the year, then sold them to its down­stream Hong Yi Ltd. ( ), a frozen food man­u­fac­turer in Ping­tung, which orig­i­nally planned to ex­port the pro­cessed eels to Ja­pan.

How­ever, Hong Yi made some of the live eels into grilled eels be­fore test re­sults from SGS Tai­wan be­came avail­able, re­veal­ing that the 3,000 kg of live eels were con­tam­i­nated with mala­chite green.

Mala­chite green is a syn­thetic dye used to color fab­ric and pa­per, and has emerged as a con­tro­ver­sial agent in aqua­cul­ture. It is cheap and easy to pur­chase, serv­ing as a par­a­siti­cide and an­tibac­te­rial agent. How­ever, it has been found to be toxic to the liver and kid­ney, detri­men­tal to fer­til­ity, and pos­si­bly could lead to can­cer in cer­tain cases. Most coun­tries have banned its use in fish sold for hu­man con­sump­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Taoyuan Pros­e­cu­tors Of­fice (TPO, ) and the Health Bureau of Taoyuan ( ), Hong Yi re­turned the half-pro­cessed eels to Ming Chuan, how­ever, they failed to re­port this to the health bureau. Ming Chuan then il­le­gally man­u­fac­tured the eels into grilled eel prod­ucts, al­ready aware that the eels were tainted with mala­chite green, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Re­spon­si­ble Yun­lin Fish­ery

On April 26, the TPO dis­cov­ered that Ming Chuan in­tended to re­lease the grilled eels onto the lo­cal mar­ket. The Fish­eries Agency then ex­panded their in­ves­ti­ga­tion to Yun­lin, un­earthing the fish­ery that used mala­chite green in the eels.

Ac­cord­ing to the Tai­wan Eel Farm­ing In­dus­try Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion ( ), Yun­lin’s eel farm­ing has earned a re­li­able rep­u­ta­tion in the mar­ket over the years, how­ever, this scan­dal may bring im­pact its rep­u­ta­tion.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the agency said that they have found an­other 5,600 kilo­grams of live eels at the Yun­lin fish­ery, which is now re­stricted from sell­ing prod­ucts un­til it com­plies with SGS stan­dards.

Ac­cord­ing to the eel farm­ing foun­da­tion, how­ever, the Yun­lin fish­ery farmed a to­tal of 30 tons of live eels last year, with 3 tons now con­fis­cated, and the other 27 tons re­main­ing un­ac­counted for. It may be pos­si­ble that they have al­ready been sold or con­sumed.

Ming Chuan to be Fined upto NT$200 Mil­lion

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare, the own­ers of Ming Chuan will be fined from NT$60,000 to NT$200 mil­lion, or five to seven years im­pris­on­ment, over vi­o­la­tions of the Act Gov­ern­ing Food Safety and San­i­ta­tion. Hong Yi will be fined from NT$30,000 to NT$3 mil­lion for not re­port­ing the pres­ence of mala­chite green in eels to the lo­cal health bureau.

CNA

Lin Chao-hsi­ung ( ), gen­eral manager of Hong Yi Ltd. ( ), a frozen food man­u­fac­turer in Ping­tung, claims yes­ter­day that the com­pany re­turned a large batch of poi­sonous eels af­ter dis­cov­er­ing they were tainted with mala­chite green.

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