Taiwan tackles food safety issue in eggs

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The Council of Agriculture in Taiwan has imposed a number of measures to protect public health after eggs from one wholesaler were found to be contaminated with dioxin.

Focus Taiwan reports that, at 5.2pg/g, the eggs contained more than twice the maximum legal limit of dioxin, a group of chemicals that can be harmful to human health.

Council investigations traced the eggs to three farms in Changhua County, where the Food and Drug Administration ordered sales to be suspended immediately. Meanwhile, almost 6.8 metric tons of potentially contaminated eggs were removed for inspection from wholesalers, grocery stores and restaurants across Taiwan. No further contaminated eggs were detected, although the authorities were not ruling out that possibility.

In the immediate aftermath of the findings, Focus Taiwan reported that egg prices were unaffected although sales were slower than normal.

According to the PTS News Network, dioxins are fat-soluble chemicals that can cause skin lesions following short-term exposure, while longer-term, low-level exposure has been associated with cancers and miscarriages.

In the last 12 years, dioxin-contaminated poultry products have been detected four times in Taiwan, environmental groups say. They allege that there are inadequate controls on common sources of dioxins, such as the burning of some plastics and inks. Dioxins can enter the food chain via contaminated feeds or feed ingredients.

Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsong-hsien has announced that eggs will be routinely tested for dioxins in future, reports PTS.

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