The discovery comes amid a sharp spike in pork prices following a suspected outbreak of the highly contagious African swine fever (ASF), which was initially denied by relevant authorities.
Officials found that the Songkhla cold storage, where 200,000kg of frozen pork had been discovered, had failed to report its pork stocks as required by the Commerce Ministry’s January 10 order.
Songkhla’s chief commerce official, Chatsuda Chumsang, said legal action would be taken against the cold storage owner, Piti Seafood Co Ltd, for the lapse. The company claims it was unaware of the ministerial order, she added.
However, the official clarified that no charge of hoarding would be filed against the company as its records showed regular distribution of pork from its cold storage.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has ordered ministry officials to conduct checks on pork stocks at cold storages in their provinces across the country.
The owner of any cold storage who fails to correctly report the quantity of frozen pork at their facilities risks a maximum imprisonment of one year or a fine not exceeding Bt20,000, in addition to a daily fine of Bt2,000 until they can meet the requirement.
Anyone found to be hoarding goods faces a jail term of up to seven years, a maximum fine of Bt140,000, or both.
The Central Committee on the Price of Goods and Services recently set a requirement for raisers of 500 pigs or more and people having or storing at least 5,000 kilograms of pork to report the volume and price every seven days, from January 10 onwards.
In Songkhla, provincial governor Jessada Jitrat on Thursday led a team of officials, including local police, to inspect a cold storage in Chana district following a tipoff that a massive amount of pork was hoarded there.
A total of 201,650kg of pork valued at over Bt50 million was found at the cold storage. The pork was linked to a company in southern Phatthalung province.
After the discovery, Songkhla authorities said they would conduct checks at all cold storages in the province as a deterrent against hoarding.
Meanwhile in Bangkok, similar checks were conducted by a team of Commerce Ministry officials led by permanent secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamit.
The ministry’s officials and police from Consumer Protection Police Division inspected the Pitcha Meat Group cold storage in Min Buri district but found nothing suspicious.
Published : January 20, 2022