Suppliers of insecticide released on bail in egg contamination case

Taipei-Two suppliers of agricultural chemicals in Pingtung County were released on bail Friday after being questioned by prosecutors in connection with the recent contamination of eggs in Taiwan.

The father and son pair were granted bail of NT$500,000 (US$16,550) and NT$300,000, respectively, according to Chen Yun-ju (???), a chief prosecutor at the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office.

During questioning, the suspects admitted that they had sold the insecticide fipronil to chicken farms not only in Changhua County, but also in other areas, Chen said.

The case first came to light Tuesday when the Council of Agriculture (COA) disclosed that eggs from three farms in Changhua were found to contain excessive levels of the insecticide.

The tests were conducted in the wake of recent incidents of fipronil contamination of eggs in Europe and South Korea.

As of Thursday, the number of fipronil-contaminated farms had increased to 15, with five identified in Changhua County, five in Tainan City, two in Kaohsiung City, two in Nantou County, and one in Taichung City, the COA said.

According to reports, some chicken farmers have been using fipronil against fleas and other parasites on their farms, leading to contamination of their eggs.

The World Health Organization considers fipronil to be "moderately toxic" to humans. It says long-term exposure to Fipronil can cause damage to the kidneys, liver and thyroid gland. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and epileptic seizures, according to the WHO.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has classified fipronil as a possible human carcinogen, based on an increase in thyroid follicular cell tumors in rats.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel