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368. Pesticide Eggs 

Shin, Sang Yoo 기자2017.11.15 00:42:05


So Called “The Pesticide Egg Incident”

          The first outbreak of Pesticide egg did not start from Korea. It started from a report in Belgium on July 19th 2017. Later on, many other countries became aware of such immoral acts and decided to investigate on such events. There are many reason in which such incident had happened in Korea. However, It was pointed out that it was mostly because of the ethical mind that people have at the current period. Many firms seek to attain bigger profits in methods that may not seem just. In order to do so, they use many sorts of connections such as bribery and human networking to fulfill what they desire. It is not the first time since Korea has gone through such absurd incident. Even looking back at few months, a famous firm called Lilian had its trouble regarding its sanitary pad products.


How Eggs Became Infected

          Just like humans, chickens also need to be washed in order to clean themselves. However, by breeding them in cages that are very small and squished, it is impossible to clean them properly. This usually leads to an increase of number of mites in the cages. Mites are threatening bugs for breeders because mites tend to reduce the number of eggs chicken can lay by causing sub-alimentation. Thus, as a resolution, breeders used pesticides to kill these mites. These pesticides seeped inside the chicken and eventually lead chickens to lay what we call as the ‘pesticide egg.’


The Korean Pesticide Egg Incident

The first news regarding the pesticide egg issue in Korea started when the results of the ministry of agriculture’s investigation turned out to have found Piperonal and Bifenthrin in the eggs. There are two disputing views on whether these two chemicals are lethal or not. The ministry of agriculture and farm owners are asserting that it is of no harm to humans as it takes a very long and abundant amount for a person to be affected. However, other scientists are rebuking this by stating that even an intake of a very small amount is lethal. There are differences in such scientific results depending on whether it has been experimented on a chronic toxicity criteria or an acute toxicity criteria. This basically means that if a chemical is run through chronic toxicity criteria, it only measures the lethality in the long run effect. This is vice-versa with the acute toxicity because it only tests short term effects on humans.


Explanation on Piperonal & Bifenthrin

Piperonal is well known as heliotropin. It is an organic compound which is commonly found in flavors. Also, it is noted that it is not toxic unless eaten in abundant mass. Following the WHO standard, products are prohibited to have more of 0.02mg/kg. In Korea’s egg incident 0.0363mg/kg was found to be remaining inside the egg.

Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid insecticide used to catch red imported fire ants by messing with their nervous system. Although Bifenthrin is a chemical that is restricted in the United States, it is still sold in supermarkets. Korea’s standard of Bifentrin use is limited to 0.01mg/kg in a product. However, this incident revealed that the egg had 0.0157mg/kg. 

Both Piperonal and Bifenthrin’s limitations were violated when the result of the investigation was out. More than six farms of the authenticated places showed that these farms were not following the standards that had been suggested by the ministry of agriculture. The representative six places were in Namyangju, Gwangju, Cheorwon, Yangju, Naju and Cheonan.


Countermeasures to prevent such incidents from now on.

          As a temporary countermeasure, the government has suggested a solution in which to carefully choose the right products that do not contain pesticides. On the shell of the egg, there are codes written down which reveals the production area and its code number. Avoiding already noted down regions will prevent people from eating such problematic food. Moreover, the government has decided to create a new branch called the ‘식용란선별포장업[1]which will serve as a middle stage for farms to attain the HACCP authentication.



[1] 식용란선별포장업’ – A newly created entity in order to investigate edible eggs regarding nutrition information, safety, and packaging.

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