UK Organic Group Says Toxic Drug Residues Found in Eggs

UK Organic Group Says Toxic
Drug Residues Found in Eggs

UK: January 18, 2002

LONDON - A leading organic group said this week that drug residues that
could harm humans have been found in thousands of eggs on sale in Britain,
potentially dealing another blow to intensive farming methods.

The report, which could make consumers even more edgy about food following
a series of scares, was criticised by egg associations, with the British
Egg Industry Council calling it "irresponsible scaremongering".
Organic group the Soil Association said lasalocid - a drug it said was too
toxic to be used in medicine and shown to have potent effects on animals -
had been found in 2.6 percent of chicken eggs and 60 percent of quails'
eggs. "Even low levels of lasalocid are dangerous to mammals and this
raises concerns about how toxic the drug is to humans," Alison Craig,
author of a Soil Association report, said in a statement.

"We know that this drug hangs around in the body, so we could be
accumulating it every time we eat eggs or chicken. The government's testing
programme for such residues is wholly inadequate - only one out of every 18
million eggs is analysed."

The Soil Association said the drug, which is put into animal feed, had been
found to produce rapid contractions in a human heart muscle and was used
widely in intensive farming.

But the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) said the drug was not fed to
laying hens and only given to those which are bred for poultry meat.

"Egg-laying hens are reared differently and completely separately from
chickens used for poultry meat," Andrew Joret, BEIC deputy chairman, said.

"Lasalocid is not part of a laying hen's diet."

British consumers have become increasingly wary over food, after a series
of scares including mad cow disease affecting beef and salmonella in eggs.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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