SHIJIAZHUANG: More than 5,000 ducks believed to have eaten feed containing a
harmful red dye were slaughtered Monday in North China's Hebei Province.
Over 300 kilograms of duck eggs were also destroyed and buried after the
owners of five duck farms in Pingshan County admitted feeding the ducks with the
red dye, which has tested positive for carcinogens.
The farm owners had heard that the dye would turn the yolk of the duck eggs
red. Red-yolk duck eggs are commonly thought to be more nutritious than
yellow-yolk eggs and so are usually more expensive.
They claimed that a trader
named Zhu Laiyong in Baoding, a city in Hebei, had told them he could sell them
a "red drug" which acted as a high-tech additive to make the ducks produce more
red-yolk eggs. They each paid 25 yuan (about US$3) for a half-kilogram bag which
was supposed to last for six months.
Residents destroy duck eggs
containing a poisonous red dye in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's
Hebei Province November 15, 2006. Red-yolk duck eggs, weighting 311 kg
have been destroyed and the local government calls for a thorough
investigation into the food safety accident. [Xinhua]
also claimed that Zhu had bought the red-yolk eggs from them at 0.2 to 0.3 yuan
(0.02 to 0.03 US cent) higher per kilogram than normal yellow-yolk ones.
At a press conference held yesterday, the Hebei provincial government said
two duck farms in Jingxing County were also found to have used fodder containing
the dye. Two hundred kilograms of duck eggs and 70 kilograms of salted duck eggs
were confiscated at the two farms.
The alleged contamination was first disclosed by a weekly news programme on
China Central Television.
In response, the Beijing authorities immediately banned the sale of red-yolk
duck eggs from Hebei and advised buyers to return the products.
Hebei has also imposed a ban on the sale of all red-yolk duck eggs in the
"Three managers of three egg processing factories in Hebei have been arrested
for their involvement in the dye contamination," said a spokesman for the
provincial government on Tuesday.
The Beijing Food Safety Office on Tuesday confirmed that samples of red-yolk
salted duck eggs sold in the city had been found to contain Sudan B, a
carcinogenic red dye.
Beijing officials have so far seized 1,159 kilograms of the red-yolk eggs.
Sales of all red-yolk duck eggs have been banned in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan
Province and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.