Salmonella has not been detected in korean eggs for more than 10 years.
The recent egg contamination scandal in Europe, where Fipronil, an insecticide, was detected in eggs, has caused a social controversy in South Korea. Park Tae-kyun, CEO of KOFRUM (Korea Food Communication Forum) and a Research Professor at the Department of Food Bioscience and Technology, Korea University, said, "Eggs are very important food and protein source in South Korea. Most South Koreans eat at least one egg daily. As the pesticide egg wave subsided, egg consumption in South Korea begins to increase again. Korean eggs are known to be very safe, unlike the usual expectations."
Salmonella is the most common food poisoning bacteria when it comes to eggs. In the United States, each year one million people suffer from salmonella food poisoning, with 350,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths. Approximately one in 10,000 eggs in the U.S. and EU is contaminated with salmonella. Large-scale egg recalls are frequent in the U.S. due to salmonella contamination. Eating salmonella-contaminated eggs can cause enteritis in a couple of hours or even after 24 hours. Common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, which are similar to general food poisoning.
In contrast, Korean eggs have been completely free from salmonella. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in South Korea collects and inspects eggs at more than 1,900 poultry farms and outlets every year and salmonella has not been detected for more than 10 years. The Korea Consumer Agency, a government agency for consumer protection, regularly conducts tests on 100 shell eggs and their contents for salmonella. There have been no eggs contaminated with salmonella. This can be attributed to the South Korean government stringent egg hygiene standards required of poultry farmers.
"You can check how long it will remain for sale on the market by looking at the mark on the eggshell. Korean eggs have shelf lives -- usually 7 to 35 days. The South Korean government not only regularly conducts salmonella tests on eggs, but also has a reward and punishment system based on the results," Park said.
"The fact that salmonella has not been detected for a long time in Korean eggs indicates that Korean eggs are hygienically managed and produced. Korean eggs are refrigerated, their shelf lives are set, quality is standardized, and production history can be tracked in case of pollution," said Ahn Young-ki, chairman of Korea Self-Help Committee for Eggs.
He emphasized that "It's hygienic and it's fine to crack without washing the eggshell." In addition, more than 80% of Korean eggs are produced by hens that are raised free of antibiotics.
Source: Korea Food Communication Forum (KOFRUM)
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