The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday called a news conference to announce that it has identified the sole source of a recent dioxin-tainted eggs scare as a farm named Hungchang (鴻彰) in Changhua County.
On Friday last week, the FDA announced that it discovered dioxin-tainted eggs in a batch of eggs sold in Miaoli County in its annually held tests for the pollutant.
A cross-agency joint task force formed from FDA officials, the Environmental Protection Administration and the Council of Agriculture investigated the origin of the eggs, the FDA said.
After identifying Changhua as the region of origin, the officials took samples from three of the county’s egg farms, and found two samples from Hungchang farm carried dioxin residue levels of 2.88 picograms per gram of fat and 3.34 per gram of fat, which exceeded the national standard of 2.5 per gram of fat.
The task force said the farm’s chicken feed and feed additives had been tested for dioxin and their readings fell within legal standards, adding that they had been “provisionally ruled out” as the pollution source.
The task force’s investigation into whether the dioxin originated from an environmental source is ongoing, the task force said.
Readings from the two remaining producers, identified as Tsaiyuan (財源) and Chunyi (駿億) egg farms, were in compliance with national standards and the ban on the retail of their products has been lifted, the FDA said.
Earlier yesterday, Changhua County Commissioner Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) made a statement reassuring the public that eggs from the county’s 480 farms are safe to eat, because all products from the three farms under suspicion have been removed from circulation.
Businesses affected by the recall have lost an estimated NT$10 million (US$331,664) since the recall, according to sources
The Changhua County Government disagreed with the FDA’s decision to go public before identifying a definite source of pollution, Wei said.
If subsequent investigations absolve egg farmers of responsibility for the tainted eggs, the county government might initiate lawsuits on behalf of its farmers for state compensation, as it is the duty of the county to stand with its residents, Wei said.
The county is actively discussing its legal options with attorneys, he said, adding that if the Ministry of Health and Welfare made a mistake, it would owe the farmers “compensation, not subsidies.”
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