Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Three egg brands recalled, executive trio questioned

YI JIN KING:The firm is one of the five largest suppliers of eggs in Taiwan. Tests on eggs sold in Chiayi County showed residue of a urea derivative that is not allowed

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Battery hens at a Yi Jin King Co farm in Changhua County’s Fangyuan Township are pictured yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Health authorities yesterday ordered a recall of three brands of eggs from Yi Jin King Co (義進金公司) amid a judicial probe into allegations the firm’s eggs contained excessive levels of nicarbazin and labels had been fraudulently altered.

The Ciaotou District Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung summoned company owner Su Wen-yuan (蘇文源) and two of his siblings who are company executives for questioning, and prosecutors said they plan to indict the three for forgery of documents, fraud and contravening the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).

The three were released on bail, which ranged from NT$300,000 to NT$500,000.

The case stems from inspections over the summer that turned up fraudulent labeling and changed expiration dates, and test results showed nicarbazin residue at 0.05 parts per million (PPM) in the company’s eggs.

Nicarbazin is a urea derivative that is added to poultry feed to combat protozoan parasite. Taiwan does not allow any nicarbazin residue in eggs, although some is permitted in poultry meat.

Supermarket chains, including Pxmart, grocery stores, bakeries and luxury hotels, were among those that had to pull King I Eggs (金愛蛋), Li Yo Eggs (力優蛋) and King Eggs (金雞蛋機能卵) from shelves and storerooms following the order.

Yi Jin King is one of the five largest egg suppliers in the nation, and its products carry the Certified Agricultural Standards (CAS) logo, indicating they have passed health inspections.

The prosecutors’ office said an inspection test in July of eggs sold at a Pxmart in Chiayi County found 0.05ppm of nicarbazin in the eggs, and authorities ordered a product recall, but the Chiayi County Health Bureau did not publicly announce the recall as the company’s farms were located elsewhere.

Prosecutors later received tips from employees that top executives had told them to repackage the recalled eggs and give them new expiration dates, and distribute them to supermarkets and other clients.

They also alleged that recalled eggs were mixed into liquid egg products that were supplied to hotels, bakeries and restaurants.

“All our egg products have passed health inspection and testing, so there is no problem with them. We absolutely would not do things against our good conscience,” Su told reporters yesterday.

He did not know why the eggs had tested positive for nicarbazin residue, as the firm’s internal testing of the recalled eggs did not show it, he said.

He said that he believed the eggs could have been contaminated during transport as the trucks used by the firm also carried poultry feed.

Some former employees were trying to get revenge by making false accusations to destroy the company’s reputation, as they had tried to organize a strike in a bid to take over the firm, he said.

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