In a classic case of chicken and the egg, people are worried about eating either. Following reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found high dioxin levels in eggs at Changhua County farms yesterday, some residents questioned whether they should continue to consume chicken for fear that they are also contaminated.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) reassured residents that the dioxin levels in eggs are not related to chickens for consumption, UDN reported. There is a difference between hens raised to lay eggs and broiler chickens, which are raised specifically for meat production. Therefore, any chickens sent to the markets for meat will be unrelated to the dioxin case.
No broiler chickens tested exceeded standard levels for dioxins.
However, Yang Chen-chang (楊振昌), head of Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s Toxicology Department, said that testing needs to be expanded immediately to safeguard the health of Taiwan’s residents. He said the government must find the source of pollution because he doubts that the dioxin levels stem from a feed problem, according to another UDN report.
The farms related to the dioxin findings as well as grocery stores across Taiwan were ordered to remove the tainted eggs from shelves by 3 pm Saturday to ensure the public does not consume more than they already have. According to the COA, the three farms responsible for the excessive dioxin levels can produce 65,000 eggs per day. Tests showed that the eggs from the three farms were more than double the legal standard limit for dioxin.
Retailers that continue sell or use eggs from the three farms after 3 pm today will face a fine of NT$30,000 (US$988) to NT$3 million (US$98,814), the FDA said.
According to the WHO, more than 90% of human exposure to dioxins, which are highly toxic, is through food. The organization recommends consumption levels should not exceed 1 picograms (pg)/kg to 4pg/kg per day. The eggs tested reached dioxin levels as high as 5.2pg/g.