Rice grown on polluted fields has not entered market: agency
The Agriculture and Food Agency said Saturday that it has tracked down the rice grown in fields contaminated by slag dumped by a waste treatment company and that the rice harvested from the farmland beside a river in Tainan’s Xuejia District has not made its way into the market.
It noted that the harvested rice was first sent to a drying plant and later to a milling plant in Chiayi County, where a check of the milling plant’s warehouses found more than 200,000 tons of suspect rice.
To ensure food safety for consumers, the agency said that all the bagged rice has been sealed and it is certain that none of it has made its way into the market.
The agency will also conduct random tests on the rice to see if it contains heavy metals. The results of the tests will be unveiled Aug. 18.
Investigators found that the waste treatment company in Tainan dumped the slag on the fields, covered it with soil and then rented the land to farmers for planting.
The head of the company surnamed Kuo and a major shareholder surnamed Wei have been turned over to the authorities on suspicion of forging documents and violating Taiwan’s Waste Disposal Act.
Investigators said the company collected around 10,000 metric tons of waste per month from six steel companies.
Based on an average processing fee of between NT$400 (US$12.4) and NT$600 per metric tons, the company has made illicit gains of between NT$5 million and NT$6 million per month, adding up to more than NT$200 million over four years.