Rice grown on pol­luted fields has not en­tered mar­ket: agency

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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