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Ministry Urges Inspection of Harmful "Red Eggs"
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The Ministry of Agriculture has ordered local authorities to inspect markets and farms and punish those who are still selling "red-yolk" eggs which have been found to contain a carcinogenic red dye.

The move follows the discovery that farmers in Hebei Province had been feeding red dye to ducks so they would produce the expensive red-yolk eggs. The eggs were then found on sale in Beijing.

The ministry ordered local governments to investigate the poultry farms, destroy eggs that contain Sudan dyes and crack down on the illegal process of adding the dye to duck feed.

Red Sudan dyes are used in the leather and fabric industries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, has categorized Sudan dyes as Group 3 genotoxic carcinogens.

Last year, the ministry reiterated the ban on production, sale and use of Sudan dyes in food, after it was found in some brands of pepper sauce, chili oil and fast food giant KFC's New Orleans roast chicken wings.

The contamination of the duck eggs from Hebei was first disclosed in a weekly quality report program on China Central Television. The Beijing authorities immediately banned the sale of red-yolk eggs from Hebei and advised consumers to return them.

"Sales of all red-yolk salted duck eggs from neighboring Hebei Province have been banned temporarily in markets, shopping malls and stores in Beijing," said a spokeswoman surnamed Wang with the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce.

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2006)

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