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Hints from Taiwan that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs

Date:
June 17, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Contrary to popular belief, paying a premium price for free-range eggs may not be healthier than eating regular eggs, a new study reports. Scientists found that free-range eggs in Taiwan contain at least five times higher levels of certain pollutants than regular eggs.

New research suggests that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs.
Credit: iStockphoto/Chris Hepburn

Contrary to popular belief, paying a premium price for free-range eggs may not be healthier than eating regular eggs, a new study reports. Scientists found that free-range eggs in Taiwan contain at least five times higher levels of certain pollutants than regular eggs.

Their findings appear in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the new study, Pao-Chi Liao and colleagues note that free-range chickens are those that have continuous access to fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, in contrast to chickens that are confined to cages. Demand for eggs from free-range chickens has increased steadily due to their supposed better nutrition qualities, including higher levels of certain healthy fats. But scientists suspect that free-range chickens may risk getting higher levels of exposure to environmental pollutants, particularly PCDDs and PCDFs, potentially toxic substances that are produced as by-products of burning waste. Also known as dioxins, these substances may cause a wide range of health problems in humans, including reproductive and developmental problems and cancer.

The scientists collected six free-range eggs and 12 regular eggs from farms and markets in Taiwan and analyzed the eggs for their content of dioxins. Taiwan, they note, is a heavily populated, industrialized island with many of the municipal incinerators that release PCDDs and PCDFs. They found that the free-range eggs contained 5.7 times higher levels of PCDDs and PCDFs than the regular eggs. The scientists suggest that the findings raise concern about the safety of eating free-range chicken eggs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jing-Fang Hsu, Chun Chen, Pao-Chi Liao. Elevated PCDD/F Levels and Distinctive PCDD/F Congener Profiles in Free Range Eggs. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 100603133421072 DOI: 10.1021/jf100456b

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Hints from Taiwan that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616122124.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, June 17). Hints from Taiwan that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616122124.htm
American Chemical Society. "Hints from Taiwan that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616122124.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

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