Experts and poultry industry stakeholders certified that orange yolk eggs are safe for all.

Industry leaders are reeling from a report last week over statements of Benguet State University vice president for corporate and business affairs Jones Feliciano, who said consumption of orange yolk eggs may cause cancer.

Diego Dumapis, spokesperson of the over 180 poultry farmers in the areas of Baguio, Benguet, Viscaya, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur and Cervantes, said Feliciano's statements have caused a dip in sales for businessmen all over.

Dumapis said cancellation of orders from establishments as well as return of orange yolk eggs have been giving farmer’s problems. He added no BSU study backs the statements of Feliciano on the ill effects of orange yolk eggs.

“There is no truth to the allegations that orange yolk eggs are harmful, there are no findings or research on it,” Dumapis said.

Dumapis said the 180-man strong group of poultry raisers produces at least 40,000 eggs in a day with layers totaling 50,000.

The smallest backyard poultry farm in the group consists of 48 layers and the largest has 7,000 layers.

San Miguel Foods Incorporated’s (SMFI) B-Meg representative Kevin Casilla said international certification bodies have long stamped their approval on the safety of poultry feeds.

SMFI technical services and quality control manager Dr. Isaias Lumanta Jr. as well as animal nutritionist Hazel Grace Masilungan said in their 2011 report “this is to certify the carotenoid that we are using in our B-Meg layer mash is safe for use in animal nutrition. We also certify the inclusion rate we are using in order to achieve the desired yolk color is within the suppliers recommended dosage.”

Both experts said the claims are supported by certifications given by the supplier and the manufacturer [of carotenoid].

According to research articles, the color of the yolk is due to substances called carotenoids and the primary sources of carotenoids in poultry feed are maize (corn), maize gluten, alfalfa (lucerne) and grass meals.

These sources contain the pigmenting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which, together with other oxygen-containing carotenoids, are known by the collective name of xanthophylls.

Feliciano said synthetic chemicals are mixed to poultry feeds to make the color of the yolk a deep orange, which is composed of harmful chemicals.

B-Meg company supplier DSM has been certified safe by the European Commission on Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General stating “canthaxantin is the sole pigment of the carotenoid family registered for the use in both animal feeds and human foods. In the European Union, it is also the sole carotenoid pigment for which an acceptable daily intake has been established.”

The DSM certification further states “nature Identical carotenoids such as apo ester and canthaxantin, are classed as category A(1) food additives, which are the safest category. Apo ester and canthaxantin, have been approved and used in the EU and many other parts of the world for more than 30 years, during this time, they have developed an excellent reputation for efficiency and safety.”

The World Poultry magazine has also vouched for the safety of canthaxantin, tagging it as an anti-oxidant in animal tissue which can potentially help reduce oxidation in a number of tissues including broiler meat and the chick embryo.

Dumapis said the poultry business in the region started to pick up in the mid-1990s when farmers realized the potential of poultry raising.

“The Baguio- Benguet area has the best climate to raise chickens at a temperature of 22-24 degrees,” Dumapis added. (Maria Elena Catajan)