Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Investigation into dioxins in eggs is to focus on feed

Staff writer, with CNA

An investigation into dioxins that contaminated eggs from a Changhua County chicken farm is focusing on chicken feed after ruling out water, air and soil as the source of contamination, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said on Sunday.

The Hung Chang Chicken Farm last week supplied dioxin-tainted eggs to a Miaoli County store, council officials said.

The farm changed management two months ago, the council said, adding that the family that runs the farm had been making the feed.

On Friday, more than 42,000 chickens were culled and incinerated by the county’s Department of Agriculture and Animal Disease Control Center, as well as about 15 tonnes of eggs.

Meanwhile, of the 8,962kg of eggs that were removed from store shelves as a precautionary measure, 3,730kg were free of dioxins and have been released for sale. The rest are to be destroyed, the Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

Tests found 2.88 picogram/gram (pg/g) and 3.34pg/g of dioxin in two eggs from Hung Chang farm, above the permissible level of 2.5pg/g. One picogram is one trillionth of a gram.

Dioxins, a group of highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals, are pollutants produced as a result of human activity, such as burning garbage, and can accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.

Dioxins can damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, according to the WHO.

On April 21, the FDA ordered eggs from three farms in Changhua County’s Fangyuan Township (芳苑) be removed from store shelves as a precautionary measure after excessive levels of dioxins were found in an egg from the area.

After investigation, two of the three farms were cleared and Hung Chang farm was identified as the source of the problem.

The owners of the other two farms are demanding government compensation for loss of revenue.

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