More than 5,000 ducks believed to have eaten feed containing a
harmful red dye were slaughtered on Tuesday 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
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 those with yellow-yolks and usually more
The farmers claimed that a trader named Zhu Laiyong from
Baoding of Hebei had told them he could sell them a "red drug" that
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 that was supposed to last for six months.
They also claimed that Zhu had bought the red-yolk eggs from
them at 0.2 to 0.3 yuan higher per kilogram than normal
At a press conference held yesterday the Hebei provincial
government said two duck farms in Jingxing County were also found
to have used the feed 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
program on CCTV. 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 province. "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
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 the carcinogenic red dye Sudan B.
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.
(China Daily November 16, 2006)