Oyster farmers in Tainan are urging the government to establish a labeling system so that consumers can distinguish between locally produced oysters and those imported from Vietnam.
Tainan Fishermen’s Association made the call Tuesday in light of what they said was a flood of oysters from Vietnam entering Taiwan and being passed off as local produce.
Citing reports from local oyster farmers, the association said that during the oyster harvesting season between December and January, oyster wholesalers had been reluctant to purchase locally grown oysters due to lower prices of imports.
Oysters from Vietnam account for a large share of Taiwan’s market, the fishermen’s association said.
By November of 2021, 1,331 metric tons of oysters had been imported from the country and passed off as domestically grown ones, the association added, noting that this not only affected the livelihoods of local oyster farmers but could also cause food safety problems.
Around 4,500 metric tons of oysters were raised in Tainan per year, according to the association.
The fishermen’s association urged the central government to impose controls on oyster imports, require country of origin labeling, and improve border checks and tests of imports.
In particular, it suggested the government come up with methods for country of origin labeling.
The annual oyster output in Tainan is valued at between NT$400 million and NT$500 million (US$14.5 million-US$18.13 million), according to Lee Chien-yu (李建裕), the head of the Tainan Agriculture Bureau.
Domestically grown oysters are sold for around NT$267-NT$300 per kilogram, while imported oysters from Vietnam are sold for only NT$200 per kg, which has led some sellers to pass off imports as domestic products to boost profits, Lee said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel