Taipei, April 21 (CNA) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday ordered eggs from three farms in Changhua County's Fangyuan Township to be pulled from store shelves as a precautionary measure after an excessive level of dioxins, a group of toxic chemicals, was found in an egg from the area.
The three farms have also been sealed off and banned from shipping produce pending an investigation, the FDA said.
The contaminated egg was discovered in an annual survey of dioxins in food conducted by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) for the FDA, the administration said.
It was detected to have a dioxin concentration of 5.2 pg/g, far higher than the allowable limit of 2.5 pg/g, the FDA said.
According to FDA Deputy Director-General Lin Jin-fu (林金富), the contaminated egg was laid by a chicken from one of the three farms, and by having the farms sealed off, the FDA is trying to find the chicken and identify the source of contamination.
Chang Jung-wei (張榮偉), an associate research fellow at NCKU's Research Center of Environmental Trace Toxic Substances, said the dioxins were probably transmitted to the egg by a chicken with dioxins in its body.
If a person consume eggs with a dioxin concentration of 5.2 pg/g in a daily diet, the average dioxin exposure will be 0.49 pg/kg bw/day over the course of his or her life, still lower than the range of 1-4 pg/kg bw/day recommended by the World Health organization (WHO), Chang said, urging the public not to panic.
According to the WHO, 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. Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions.
(By Chen Wei-ting and Y.F. Low)