Insecticide-Tainted Eggs, a Real Trouble in South Korea
Insecticide-Tainted Eggs, a Real Trouble in South Korea
  • Reporter Jeong Yoon-han
  • 승인 2017.09.20 07:16
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Eggs contaminated with insecticides were one the hottest issues in South Korea last month. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced that there were none of the insecticide-tainted eggs found earlier in Europe in South Korea. However, as such eggs were continuously being reported even within the country, the issue became hotter.
Laying houses went through inspection for insecticides. Out of 1,239 farms, a total of 876 places were tested for compatibility of use of insecticides. Eggs from 66 places showed insecticide and of those 66 places, 32 places showed unfit levels of insecticides. The type of insecticides varied from place to place. Fipronil, bifenthrin, etoxazole, and flufenoxuron were the four most used insecticides. Fipronil was detected in six places, bifenthrin in 15 places, etoxazole one and flufenoxuron two places.
The actions South Korean government took are as follows. First, they added inspection items of the three insecticides above to be checked in farms and distribution stages starting next October. Also, the government promised to reinforce their examination method by securing proper standard reagents needed and educating the person concerned. They are also reviewing the current check list of 27 insecticides and are planning to expand the list to limit other insecticides stained unintentionally, in this particular case, DDT. Lastly, the government newly composed a Food Safety Management Task Force consisted of private experts and consumers to ensure food safety even more.
The criticism towards the government increased as evidence shows that the incident could have been prevented earlier. The first detection, or rather warning, of insecticides goes back to May 2016. An ecofriendly laying house in Hongseong, Chungnam, was reported showing high levels of bifenthrin that exceed the standard amount. However, the Chungnam National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service did not take this issue seriously. Instead of reporting this matter to the MFDS, they solved the problem by depriving the farm of the Environmentfriendly Agricultural Products Certification. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs did not expand the examination even after the detection and did not notify the Chungnam office of the detection. A year after, the insecticide-tainted egg shock aroused again.
The valuation on the measures taken by the South Korean government differs greatly from side to side. Lee Jong-chel, the spokesperson of Bareun Party, criticized President Moon for ignoring the consumer organization’s report that some laying houses used lots of different insecticides, some even illegal, to protect the hens from Dermanyssus due to global warming and high frequencies of cage housing. The consumer organization even came up with seven solutions and requested the government, but all the reply they received was ignorance. The citizens of South Korea and critics are furious that the sudden outbreak of insecticide-tainted eggs were not prevented beforehand as there were numerous opportunities. This happening shows the irresponsibility of the South Korean government and citizens are demanding a faster recovery along with an instant government action when such happens again.