Sun, Apr 23, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Almost 7 tonnes of eggs off the market

DIOXIN DOUBTS:Vendors were told to recall eggs from three farms by 3pm yesterday and inspectors would ensure that consumers could no longer buy them, a minister said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Staff from the Taoyuan Department of Public Health inspect eggs at an outlet where more than 1 tonne of eggs were removed from shop shelves.

Photo: CNA, provided by the Taoyuan Department of Public Health

Almost 7 tonnes of eggs that could contain high levels of dioxin residues have been removed from retailers’ shelves, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday.

At a news conference on Friday the Food and Drug Administration announced that laboratory tests had revealed that eggs sold by distributor Hocheng Retails (合成批發行) in Miaoli County’s Toufen Township (頭份) had dioxin residues exceeding the national standard.

The ministry, the Council of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Administration on Thursday traced the source of the eggs to three producers in Changhua County — Chunyi (駿逸), Hungchang (鴻彰) and Tsaiyuan (財源) farms.

The ministry yesterday said the three agencies jointly inspected the farms on Friday and confirmed that eggs had been provided to four distributors — Hocheng Retails and Yichang Egg Shop (意昌蛋行) in New Taipei City, as well as Yungshan Egg Shop (永山蛋行) and Lihsiang Egg Shop (立祥蛋行) in Taoyuan.

A total of 11 samples from eggs and chicken feed at the three farms were collected for further examination at National Cheng Kung University, the ministry said, adding that the results are expected in one week.

Downstream vendors were instructed to recall all the eggs before 3pm yesterday and inspections at retailers would ensure that it would be impossible to purchase the questionable eggs, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said.

As of 5pm yesterday, 6.785 tonnes of eggs from the three farms had been removed from shelves, and the council has imposed a seven-day ban on removing chickens or eggs from the farms, the ministry said.

All the boxes of eggs from the three farms have been sealed off for investigation, but that does not mean that they are all problematic, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said, adding that if they are found to have dioxin residues that are above the legally allowed limit, they would be destroyed.

Although the dioxin residue concentration in the eggs might not be extremely high, if they exceed allowable standards, the government must take immediate action to ensure food safety, Lin said.

The Taoyuan Department of Public Health yesterday said its investigations had discovered that the Yungshan and Lihsiang egg shops had distributed eggs to 35 breakfast shops and restaurants.

The eggs are being recalled from those eateries, the department said, adding that the city’s school lunch providers did not use eggs from the three farms.

The New Taipei City Department of Health also reported that it randomly inspected nine down-stream vendors and seven restaurants yesterday, which had all cooperated and had removed the eggs before 3pm.

Dioxins are pollutants produced as a result of human activities such as burning trash and can accumulate in the food chain, mainly in fatty tissue.

According to the WHO, short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins can result in skin lesions, such as chloracne and patchy darkening of the skin, and altered liver function.

Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system the endocrine system and reproductive functions, as well as hindering the development of the nervous system.

Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fan and CNA

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