Fri, Sep 30, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Council of Agriculture seizes ducks, duck eggs


The Council of Agriculture took emergency measures this week to stop allegedly contaminated duck eggs produced at a central Taiwan farm from entering the market.

Council Chairman Lee Chin-lung (李金龍) made the statement amid reports that duck eggs from a farm in Shenkang (伸港) town, Changhua County were found to contain unsafe levels of dioxin, a known carcinogen, marking the second such incident in three months.

In June, duck eggs produced in Hsienhsi (線西) town, also in Changhua County, were found to have been contaminated by allegedly unsafe levels of dioxin.

The county's environmental bureau tested duck eggs from the Shenkang farm on Aug. 18 and Aug. 24 and found that of the five samples, two had toxicity of 7.34pg TEQ/g fat and 7.83pg TEQ/g fat, respectively, far exceeding the EU's food safety limit of 3pg TEQ/g fat.

A picogram (pg) is one trillionth of a gram. One picogram of toxicity equivalent per gram of fat is expressed as 1pg TEQ/g fat.

Lee said the authorities were holding all the ducks and 6,000kg of duck eggs pending further checkups. If dioxin levels exceed safety limits, the birds and the eggs will be destroyed, he added.

As Environmental Protection Minister Chang Kuo-lung (張國龍) has excluded the air and the soil as sources of the contamination, the council will check the feed used by the owner of the farm, but the results are not expected until December.

In Kaohsiung, officials visited the feed manufacturer, Mao Sheng Feed Company, and took two samples to be analyzed by National Cheng Kung University's Institute of Environmental Engineering.

The Environmental Protection Administration was informed by the county bureau on Sept. 21 of its tests, but the agency did not notify the Council of Agriculture until Tuesday, triggering allegations that the delay allowed a significant amount of contaminated eggs to enter the market.

Dioxin scare

* Duck eggs from a farm in Shenkang were found to contain unsafe levels of dioxin.

* In June a similar incident occurred at a farm in Hsienhsi.

* Tests on eggs from the Shenkang farm showed that dioxin levels were far above EU safety limits.

* Authorities are holding the farm's ducks and 6,000kg of eggs to prevent potentially toxic eggs from being sold to consumers.

* The EPA has ruled out air and soil as the source of contamination, and is now examining the animals' feed.

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