Over 42,000 Egg-laying Chickens to be Culled Over Dioxin Scare

TAIWAN - Over 42,000 egg-laying hens at Hung Chang farm in Changhua County, central Taiwan, will be culled Friday after recent tests confirmed that the farm has been supplying eggs containing excessive levels of dioxin residues, according to the county's Department of Agriculture.
calendar icon 27 April 2017
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According to Focus Taiwan, Yin Shih-shuan, a section chief at the department, said Thursday that all of the eggs produced by the farm will also be destroyed.

Mr Yin said the authorities are still investigating the source of the dioxin contamination and will analyze the ingredients in the chicken feed used at the farm and track its source.

The latest tests found 2.88 pg/g and 3.34 pg/g of dioxin, respectively, in two eggs from the farm, above the permissible level of 2.5 pg/g. One pg, or picogram, is one trillionth of a gram.

Yeh Yen-po, head of the Changhua County Public Health Bureau, said the contaminated eggs were sampled in February, when the farm changed ownership.

Different owners use different formulas of chicken feed, Mr Yeh said, adding that the authorities have collected samples of eggs and chickens supplied and raised by the old owner, as well as by the new owner, and eggs supplied by nearby farms, and have sent those samples for examination.

He said the test results will be available in one or two weeks and will help clarify the source of the contamination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced 21 April that it had found eggs containing unsafe levels of dioxin, a group of highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals, allegedly from three chicken farms in Changhua.

On Wednesday, it confirmed that only eggs from Hung Chang farm were found to be contaminated and that a ban on supplies from the other two farms had been lifted.

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

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, according to the World Health Organization.

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

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