SEOUL – South Korea has discovered a second farm with eggs containing the pesticide fipronil, the second such discovery in less than a week after contaminated eggs were found on another farm, authorities announced on Wednesday.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, eggs produced at a farm with about 55,000 hens from Cheorwon, around 80 kilometers north of Seoul, tested positive for the contamination.
The Ministry has carried out nationwide inspections on all farms with more than 3,000 hens and has temporarily banned them from producing eggs after products from a farm in Namyangju near Seoul were found to contain the pesticide.
As part of the inspection, which will conclude on Thursday, a farm with 23,000 hens in the town of Gwangju near Seoul was also confirmed to have used insecticide Bifenthrin above the permitted levels.
Following the official announcement regarding chemical-contaminated products, major South Korean retailers announced that they had suspended the sale of eggs.
South Korea had already restricted the sale of eggs produced in the country due to the 2016 outbreak of bird flu, forcing the country to import from other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands, Thailand and Spain.
The pesticide fipronil, a substance banned for use in hens, has caused alarm in Europe after its use was reported in Belgium and the Netherlands. Eggs in 17 other countries were also found to contain the pesticide.
Experts say that fibronil poses a relatively low risk to humans, as adverse effects would only be suffered after consuming heavily-contaminated eggs, such as those found in Belgium and the Netherlands, over many years.