The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced that as of January, only eggs with complete and undamaged membranes can be processed as “liquid eggs.”
“Liquid egg” is the product made when egg whites, egg yolks or a blend of both are extracted in a sterile environment to reduce the risk that eggs have when broken open by hand of being contaminated by viruses or bacteria, such as salmonella.
In 2017, the nation’s second-largest egg company, CJ-Taian Co (萇記泰安), based in Taoyuan, was investigated for selling bakeries and eateries liquid egg products made from expired eggs or eggs with broken shells.
Last year, another Taoyuan-based egg product supplier, Yuanshan (元山蛋品有限公司), was investigated for selling liquid egg products made from eggs past the expiration date, eggs with broken shells and eggs with maggots.
The FDA has decided that only whole, undamaged eggs — or eggs with cracked shells, but intact membranes and free of dirt and grime — can be used to make liquid eggs, Food Safety Section head Liao Chia-ding (廖家鼎) said.
Eggs that are cracked and leaking are banned from being used to make liquid egg products, Liao added.
The focus on the membrane is because it is the primary barrier against viruses and bacteria.
Liquid egg products are further classified as sterilized or unsterilized, so the new measure would require that unsterilized products must not contain any trace of salmonella bacteria, with the total plate count of bacteria not exceeding a specified standard, Liao said.
Liquid egg products must be tagged as sterilized or unsterilized, and the required storage method must be specified, he said.
Unsterilized liquid egg products must include a note that reads: “This product can only be used in products that have been sufficiently heated or have undergone a process that effectively sterilizes the product,” he said.
Egg companies that contravene the standards or fail to include proper notices with products would face fines of NT$30,000 to NT$3 million (US$987 to US$98,665), according to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法).
Companies using rotten eggs would face fines of NT$60,000 to NT$200 million, the act states.
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