Over 6,000 kg of eggs pulled off shelves amid dioxin scare

Taipei--Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Saturday that it has pulled 6,242 kilograms of potentially contaminated eggs from store shelves as it continues efforts to trace the source of the country's first reported case of dioxin contamination in eggs.

On Friday, the FDA announced that an egg was detected with an excessive level of dioxin, a group of highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals, in an annual survey conducted by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) for the FDA.

The egg, containing a dioxin concentration of 5.2 pg/g -- more than twice the legally permitted level in foodstuff -- was sampled from a wholesaler in Miaoli County that bought eggs from a trader supplying them from three farms in Changhua County's Fangyuan township.

Besides ordering all eggs from the three farms to be removed from store shelves as a precautionary measure, the FDA also had the three farms sealed off and banned them from shipping produce pending an investigation.

According to the FDA, any retailers and food manufacturers that still sell or use eggs from the three farms by 3 p.m. Saturday will face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$3 million.

The Council of Agriculture has collected 11 samples of eggs and feed from the three farms for tests, and the results are expected to be released in seven days, the FDA said.

The Environmental Protection Administration, meanwhile, is also expected to publish the results of tests on water and air sampled from the three farms in seven days, the FDA added.

Dioxins are pollutants produced as a result of human activities such as trash burning and can accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.

According to the World Health Organization, short-term exposure of humans to high levels of dioxins may result in skin lesions, such as chloracne and patchy darkening of the skin, and altered liver function.

Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel