Taiwan probes cottonseed usage in feeds

Taiwan probes cottonseed usage in feeds

TAIPEI - The Council of Agriculture (COA) announced yesterday that it had probed local factories on the usage of massive quantities of cottonseed meal purportedly imported for use in animal feed production.

According to the COA's investigation of cottonseed meal imported since 2011, approximately 150 kilograms were imported in 2011, used mainly for scientific experiments; over the next two years the amount increased to respectively 5,500 and 3,500 tons per year, and was used for animal feed and media substance for bulk-bag-harvested fungi.

In a late night press release, the COA said preliminary findings show that all imported cottonseed meal has been used in ways as stated by the manufacturers.

The COA, however, pointed out that the findings are based on written reports provided by the manufacturers and said they will conduct further investigations.

COA Deputy Director Huang Guo-ching confirmed that local feed factories had in fact imported the cottonseed meal to produce animal feed, and that the COA has dispatched investigators to probe three factories for any improper usage of the cottonseed or if the factories had sold the meal to other retailers.

Huang said that in 2011 there were 5,109 tons of cottonseed meal imported from Australia, 432 tons imported from India and 19 tons imported from China. In 2012, 2,625 tons were imported from Australia, 863 tons from India and 61 tons from China.

The cottonseed meal is produced from cottonseed oil, and is high in protein even though it cannot be used to extract oil. The COA noted that the meal could be mixed into animal feed to increase protein intake, and that animals are able to digest gossypol, the natural phenol derived from the cotton plant that is harmful to humans.

"However, the gossypol would reduce the animal's ability to digest protein; therefore the cottonseed meal should be used sparingly. Ten per cent of cottonseed meal can be added to feed for animals that chew cud, and 2 to 3 per cent to poultry feed," added the COA.

Taiwan has not yet standardized the amount of cottonseed that can be added to animal feed, but the COA has begun a study on the standards of other countries and will develop its own policy, said Huang.

Tatung Changchi to be Fined NT$1.85 billion (S$77 million)

After local oil factories Flavor Full Foods and Tatung Changchi Foodstuff Co. were discovered to have produced impure oils under false advertisement claiming the purity of their products, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) announced that the two firms will be fined within a week, and that they had obtained profits of over NT$2.3 billion (S$96 million)from the products.

The fine would be the first one issued under the newly amended Act Governing Food Sanitation, said the MHW. The fine for violating the act was raised after the amendment was passed on June 21.

The Changhua County Public Health Bureau announced that Changchi will be fined NT$1.85 billion in its most recent press conference yesterday.

Flavor Full Foods violated the act for over two years, and may face a fine of as much as NT$460 million, said MHW official Wu Hsiu-ying.

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