Korean Govt to Revise Egg Coding System

SOUTH KOREA - The government will require egg farms to implement a revised coding system that identifies how their chickens are reared and when its eggs are produced, it said Wednesday.
calendar icon 13 September 2017
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The Korea Times reports that the measure, which will be implemented next month, came in response to public outrage after the government inspection last month found insecticide-tainted eggs. The eggs also had the wrong coding on them or had no coding at all.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety notified the public about the revised regulations governing egg production.

Under the revised coding, egg sellers are required to identify the date eggs were laid, the farm code and rearing method. The four rearing methods include organic rearing, pasturing, barn rearing and cage rearing.

Currently, sellers are only required to code eggs to identify where they were produced. Only region identification and farm name were required, but few followed the rules as the punishments were mere verbal warnings.

Under the revised law, those who fail to follow the new system, even for the first time, will be subject to a 15-day suspension of business operation and all of their eggs will be destroyed.

The measure came three weeks after the ministry pledged to strengthen the regulations on production and distribution of eggs following a massive public scare over insecticide-tainted eggs early last month.

The five chemical agents found in eggs were fipronil, bifenthrin, flufenoxuron, etoxazole and pyridaben, all of which are used as pesticides.

The ministry-conducted inspections of 1,239 farms _ 683 organic and 556 non-organic _ found 52 farms sold eggs that were so contaminated with harmful chemicals that the eggs should have been banned from sales. They were among 89 farms with contaminated eggs, although the remainder had permissible levels of insecticides.

The government also said it will strictly enforce the law to inspect farms and distributors.

This followed data from the food safety ministry that showed no records of punishing violators between 2015 and 2016 and no government inspection reports on them since 2010.

The country's egg phobia seemed to subside after the government said the tainted eggs posed no major health concerns.

It said for eggs tainted with fibronil, the most harmful of the five, to cause acute toxicity, a child aged between one and two would have to consume 24 eggs at once, while for adults the number would be 126.

However, some doctors and experts said the government should investigate chronic toxicity, given that many people eat eggs or foods with egg ingredients frequently over their lifetimes.

Seller information including names and addresses of the farms nationwide is available at foodsafetykorea.go.kr.

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