Pork find spurs more cold storage checks

Pork find spurs more cold storage checks

Swine raisers warn against import plan

Livestock authorities inspect a cold-storage warehouse in Songkhla's Chana district on Thursday after the discovery of 200-plus tonnes of unverified pork stored there. The food giant Betagro said the company had told the Commerce Ministry on Jan 17 that it was storing pork at the plant before supplying it to customers in the South over the next five to seven days. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)
Livestock authorities inspect a cold-storage warehouse in Songkhla's Chana district on Thursday after the discovery of 200-plus tonnes of unverified pork stored there. The food giant Betagro said the company had told the Commerce Ministry on Jan 17 that it was storing pork at the plant before supplying it to customers in the South over the next five to seven days. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

Livestock authorities on Thursday inspected a facility in Songkhla's Chana district, following the discovery of more than 200 tonnes of unverified pork in a refrigerated warehouse.

A total of 201.6 tonnes of pork was seized on Thursday but authorities could not verify where the pork came from, said Sorravis Thaneto, director-general of the Department of Livestock Development.

"The pork is believed to have been stored at this cold warehouse since November last year," Mr Sorravis said.

"Songkhla livestock authorities have been ordered to step up inspections of this cold storage warehouse. This is part of the government's bid to tackle the unlawful hoarding of pork, which is partly to blame for high pork prices stemming from low supply."

The Consumer Protection Police Division will assist livestock officials with the inspections and will take legal action against operators found involved in pork hoarding, he said.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit also has instructed provincial commerce offices to work closely with local authorities as part of a mission to inspect refrigerated warehouses, and likewise to bring legal action against anyone found involved in pork hoarding, said commerce permanent secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamit.

"The government's central committee on goods and service prices now requires weekly inspections of pig farms keeping 500 pigs and more, and of cold warehouses stocking five tonnes of pork and more," he said.

"The punishment for failing to accurately declare the number of pigs kept or pork stored will be a maximum jail sentence of one year and a maximum fine of 20,000 baht. Those found guilty of hoarding pork may face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to 140,000 baht," he said.

Wiwat Phongwiwatthanachai, vice president of the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand, urged the government to refrain from allowing imports of pork to curb rising prices, warning it would do more harm than good.

On Tuesday, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra mentioned in a ClubHouse session that he had learned that four to five major cold warehouses had been hoarding more than 400 tonnes of pork for more than half a year.



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