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(LEAD) Eggs imported from Thailand to arrive in S. Korea next week

All Headlines 15:12 June 13, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in para 7; CLARIFIES para 3)

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Eggs imported from Thailand will arrive in South Korea next week, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday, as the government seeks to contain rising prices amid the latest bird flu outbreak.

Some 2 million eggs imported by a local company will arrive in South Korea via ship sometime between next Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

It will be the first time for eggs from the Southeast Asian country to be sold here. Currently, eggs from six other countries -- New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain -- are allowed to be imported.

South Korea imported eggs from the United States for the first time in January, but stopped the process due to a bird flu breakout there.

The government has been dealing with rising egg prices since it suffered the worst avian influenza (AI) outbreak last winter, which led to the culling of more than 33 million birds. It has been grappling with another outbreak since early this month, with some 185,000 chickens having been killed so far.

Following the first shipment, the company is known to be planning to import 2 to 2.3 million eggs every week.

The eggs are likely to be priced at some 100 won (US$0.09) each, less than half the average price in the domestic market. According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp., a carton of 30 eggs was priced at an average of 7,936 won as of Tuesday.

"The eggs imported from the U.S. in January failed to attract consumers as they lacked price competitiveness and were white in color, different from local brown eggs," an industry official said. "We will have to check consumer reaction to the Thai eggs."

A tray containing 30 eggs is sold for 11,000 won (US$9.79) at an outlet in Seoul on June 9, 2017, as an unseasonal avian influenza hits the nation, causing the mass culling of chickens and ducks. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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