Chemicals banned by the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA) have been detected in six meat products supplied to the country’s elementary schools. Four of the lunchbox providers were Certified Agricultural Standards (CAS) approved, which is a mark of qualify provided by the COA.
According to The China Post, 21 lunchboxes with chicken and pork products were sampled in early May and found to contain doxycycline and ractopamine, chemicals banned by the COA. Officials estimate that more than 10,000 elementary students from New Taipei City could have been affected.
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu told The China Post that the Public Health Department is investigating the incident.
“The providers who used ractopamine would be severely punished,” Chu said. “The Public Health Department has been inspecting and will continue to periodically and randomly sample lunchboxes provided by the lunchbox companies.
The Taipei City Government’s Department of Education reported that sampling of the meats used in school kitchens continue to meet all health standards.
Hsu Kuei-sun, director of the Taiwan Animal Industry Department, told Focus Taiwan News Channel that his department will continue to strengthen food inspections on products carrying the CAS label.
“We will rescind the food company’s CAS label if we find that they have violated food safety regulations three consecutive times,” Hsu said.
The DaChan Great Wall Group, the largest chicken provider in Taiwan, claimed that residue detected in their product were lower than 0.05 ppm, the standard amount of residue set by the Japanese government. The company called on the government to see a clear standard for residue levels of the chemical.
Fast food companies such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mos Burger have reported that they will continue purchasing DaChan products.
Tainan City Health Bureau officials found antibiotics in the lunchbox meats – mainly chicken and pork meatballs – during tests earlier this year. The investigation is still ongoing.