Retailers cut egg prices amid contamination scandal

SEOUL-- South Korean retailers are lowering the prices of their egg products amid a decline in demand due to safety concerns sparked after eggs from local farms were found to be contaminated with banned chemicals, industry sources said Wednesday.

E-Mart Inc., the country's largest discount store chain operator, said a carton of 30 eggs will be cut by 500 won (US$0.44) to 6,480 won.

Homeplus Co., another hypermarket chain operator, also said it will lower the price of a carton of 30 eggs to 6,980 won from 7,990 won.

Lotte Mart, retail giant Lotte's discount chain, plans to cut egg prices as well.

The decision came as the country has been gripped by a fiasco over eggs polluted with insecticides.

After carrying out a nationwide inspection, the government said 52 out of 1,239 egg farms in the country had used illegal pesticides, including fipronil. The same chemical has been at the center of a massive health scare that erupted in Europe last month.

Despite the government's efforts to quell public health concerns, the authorities have been criticized for failing to thoroughly carry out the inspection. Hundreds of farms underwent re-examination for skipping some of the test items.

"The demand for eggs nearly halved following the contamination scandal, leading to a drop in the wholesale prices," an E-Mart official said, adding the price could further decline.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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