Sun, Feb 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

COA to launch probe into tainted eggs in Changhua

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A Changhua County Public Health Bureau official inspects eggs at a local farm on Friday.

Photo courtesy of the Changhua County Public Health Bureau

Illegal levels of fipronil residue were found in eggs produced on a Changhua County farm, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday, adding that it would boost monitoring of the county’s egg farms and launch a probe into the insecticide’s source.

Three egg samples taken at Shun Hung Farm (順弘牧場) in the county’s Jhutang Township (竹塘) on Jan. 25 were found to contain 0.03, 0.04 and 0.06 parts per million (ppm) of fipronil respectively, exceeding the maximum allowable level of 0.01ppm, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a news release on Friday.

Having received test results from the council on Wednesday, the FDA began confiscating the 2,730 jin (1,638kg) of eggs stored at the farm, which is to be completed by Wednesday, the administration said.

However, the farm had sold 7,480 jin (almost 4.5 tonnes) of eggs to a shop in Taipei, and the shop had sold the eggs to two other shops in New Taipei City’s Tucheng (土城) and Banciao (板橋) districts, it added.

There was a delay between the completion of the testing and the announcement of the results due to the Lunar New Year holiday, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine senior official Hsu Jung-pin (徐榮彬) said yesterday.

The farm’s owner could face a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000 for contravening the Veterinary Drugs Control Act (動物用藥品管理法), which bans the use of fipronil on farm animals, he said.

The owner has denied having used the insecticide and the council is investigating its source, he said.

Other eggs from the farm tested on Thursday were not tainted, so the council lifted its ban, Hsu said.

In a worldwide scare in mid-2017, millions of fipronil-tainted eggs were found across Europe and Asia, with 45 of Taiwan’s 1,459 egg farms found to have produced tainted eggs that year, council data showed.

Over the past year, the council has tested 459 egg samples and 560 chicken meat samples, but only Shun Hung Farm samples failed initial testing, Hsu said.

The council plans stricter oversight of farms in Changhua County, where one-third of the nation’s egg farms are located, he added.

The incident is an isolated case, and the eggs sold in markets are safe, COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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