Fisheries Agency of Taiwan seriously condemns a South Korea TV show for implying Taiwan Tilapia as poor quality by combining irrelevant individual cases
In recent days, a South Korea TV show “X-files of food” defamed the quality of Taiwan Tilapia and implied that the fishermen in Taiwan have abused antibiotics in aquaculture. In response to this incident, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan indicated that the contents of the program are biased and untrue, and the Agency feels angry at such wrongful defamation. Therefore, the Agency had requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs to provide assistance in making a strongly protest and clarification abroad. Also, the Fisheries Agency will support the industry to controvert the untrue information and file lawsuit abroad against this TV media company blackening the image of our industry, as soon as possible.
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan further explained that according to their understanding, the South Korea TV show has wrongful presumption that the quality and safety of Taiwan Tilapia is poor and inferior, and thus contacted the Tilapia farmers at Mailiao and Kouhu Township claiming that they are going to buy the farmed Taiwan Tilapia. The TV programmer selectively filmed partial aquaculture circumstance of Taiwan Tilapia and edited the film improperly. Therefore, the contents of the film are wrongful and misleading, which have defamed the reputation of our Tilapia industry. To clarify such misleading information, in addition to request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to communicate with the relevant parties in South Korea, the Fisheries Agency also guided and assisted the Taiwan Tilapia Alliance to invite South Korean buyers to have a on-the-spot survey on 1st November 2013, to effectively controvert the defamation made by the specific South Korean media, and to reveal the high quality of aquaculture circumstance in Taiwan.
Taiwan Tilapia is an important aquaculture industry in Taiwan, with the reputation of good quality in the Europe Union, the United States and Japan
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan indicated that the annual production of Taiwan Tilapia is more than seventy thousand tons. Among which, 60% of Taiwan Tilapia are exported to the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia , South Korea and so on. The products exported to South Korea are mainly frozen fillet. From January to September 2013, 1,374 tons of Taiwan Tilapia products (processed from about 4,122 tons of Taiwan Tilapia) were exported to South Korea, accounting for 13% of the total exportation and 8% of the production.
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan also stated that the Seafood Watch — a program organized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium that helps consumers and businessmen choose seafood for a healthy ocean — has rated Taiwan Tilapia as “good alternatives,” and 12 Taiwan Tilapia farms and 2 processing factories have been certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (occupying half of the 24 tilapia farms certified by the ASC), proving the good quality of tilapia raised in Taiwan.
The Government emphasizes the importance of the environment sanitation and safety of aquatic products
The Fisheries Agency emphasized that Taiwan had enacted the law and regulations, such as the Water Pollution Control Act, to protect the environment. Accordingly, the Environmental Protection Administration annually conducts physical, chemical and biological survey periodically on the water quality in main rivers, reservoirs, sea areas, groundwater and beaches, and the result will be promulgated periodically. In addition, for the safety of products, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is in charge of the inspection of fisheries products sold in markets, and the Fisheries Agency is in charge of the random inspection on aquatic products that have not yet sent to markets. The inspection items include 20 kinds of drug used for animals and the residual of prohibited drugs, such as chloromycetin, nitrofuran metabolites, malachite green, leucomalachite green, and etc. According to the inspection results of the last three years, there was no Taiwan Tilapia that was found using drugs in violation of regulations. In case of any violation, the department of health in local governments will impose penalty pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law and relevant laws and regulations regarding food health, and the products will only be allowed to enter into markets after determined as qualified by re-examination.
The Government had actively guided and assisted in improving quality of Taiwan Tilapia industry
The Fisheries Agency also indicated that the Agency had endeavored efforts and measures to improve the quality of Taiwan Tilapia industry in the last three years, including to integrate and dredge the inlet and drainage facilities of farm; improve the monitoring and management of water quality for aquaculture; deploy aquatic veterinarian at the eight major Taiwan Tilapia farm areas, in cooperation with the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, to guide the use of drug in correct manners, and to guide and assist Taiwan Tilapia farmers to obtain the domestic and international aquatic products certification, such as TGAP, HACCP and CAS. In addition, the major processing factories for exportation have all obtained the certification of HACCP, ISO22000, the European Union registered plants, and etc. The processing factories also pay attention to the work of checking and the sanitation safety of material fish. As the result, the processing factories will conduct random inspection to the aquaculture farm to ensure the quality and safety of material fish. Therefore, the quality of products exported in the past years has been affirmed by the customers in the Europe Union and the United States.
Contact: Tzu-Yaw Tsay, Deputy Director-General