Thu, Feb 08, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Company focuses on SPF eggs for research

By Hung Yu-fang  /  Staff reporter

JD-SPF Biotech Co general manager Liang Chi-feng, left, and his son, Liang Hung-hsun, display the company’s high-quality “specific pathogen free” chicken eggs to the media in Miaoli County on Tuesday last week.

Photo: Hung Yu-fang, Taipei Times

JD-SPF Biotech Co in Miaoli County’s Sanwan Township (三灣) produces what might be the nation’s cleanest and most expensive eggs, which are mainly used for research.

The farm was founded in 2012 by Liang Chi-feng (梁奇鳳), a former researcher at the Council of Agriculture’s Animal Health Research Institute.

After retiring from the institute at the age of 51, Liang invested his savings and pension to set up a specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chicken farm, which opened in 2014.

The farm, which cost him about NT$50 million (US$1.7 million at the current exchange rate) to build, supplies eggs to research institutes that need SPF eggs to produce vaccines, said Liang, who is also its general manager.

Liang said he had carefully chosen a SPF-certified chicken breed imported from abroad.

The chickens at his farm are vaccine-free and are raised in controlled environment, he added.

The air in the poultry house goes through multiple filtering systems to prevent specific pathogens from entering and water supplied to the chickens are purified through reverse osmosis systems before being boiled, he said.

The farm contracts special factories to produce its own chicken feed, which must be free of antibiotics and drugs, Liang said, adding that the company periodically checks its facilities and feed for quality control.

The air pressure and temperature in the poultry houses are also controlled, with the latter set between 24°C and 28°C.

“The electricity fee alone costs NT$100,000 per month,” Liang said.

Visitors to the farm must first be sprayed with chlorine dioxide for disinfection before they can enter, he said, adding that most people are not allowed to enter the poultry houses at all — not even his son, who is responsible for delivering the eggs.

Before staff members can enter the poultry houses, they must undergo a cleansing process, which includes wiping the inside of their nose and ears with alcohol, and putting on masks, hats and special suits that cover their entire bodies.

The farm has 2,000 chickens, which produce a maximum of 700,000 eggs per year.

The SPF eggs, on average, sell for NT$90 to NT$100 each, including shipping fees.

Biotech companies and institutions — including Academia Sinica’s Genomics Research Center, the National Defense Medical Center’s Institute of Preventive Medicine, National Taiwan University, National Chiao Tung University, National Chung Hsing University and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology — source their eggs from Liang for their vaccine research.

SPF eggs that cater to vaccine researchers have a limited market, Liang said, but added that he has not given up on the business because he feels a sense of responsibility.

SPF eggs imported from abroad cost at least five times more than locally produced ones, he said.

To expand his market, Liang is hoping to obtain certification that would allow his eggs to be sold in Japan and South Korea.

Following a recent scandal involving expired eggs, he has launched a new drive to market his eggs as toxin-free food for consumers.

The company is also conducting research on producing chicken essence, chicken floss, soap and other products to ensure sustained business growth.

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