Survey study of heavy metal found in traditional preserved eggs available in Canadian supermarkets

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About This Project

Eggs are an extremely common source of protein in human diets. In order to preserve eggs for later use, the Chinese started to coat various eggs with an alkaline paste to cure them. There are now growing concerns that to in order to speed up the curing process, some eggs are now preserved on an industrial scale using chemical additives instead. This study aims to identify if heavy metals are present in preserved eggs purchased in North American supermarkets.

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What is the context of this research?

In 2013, thirty companies in Jiangxi province were closed down after it was found that they were utilizing toxic chemicals to speed up the curing process (http://www.scmp.com/news/china...) of preserved eggs.

A survey study performed in China in 2013 (https://www.researchgate.net/p...) also found that preserved egg products bought domestically in China were still coming up contaminated with heavy metals (Pb, Zn and Cu).

This project aims to conduct a survey study and see if the common Chinese preserved eggs, easily obtainable in North American Asian supermarkets, are contaminated with heavy metals, potentially causing a risk for unsuspecting North American consumers.

What is the significance of this project?

Consumers in Canada and the U.S.A. are likely to think that because they purchase a product in North America, it won't contain hazardous chemicals or substances such as heavy metals. However, recent studies in China could lead to believe the contrary. If lead, copper or other heavy metals are found in the preserved eggs purchased in North America, this could be of great concern to unsuspecting consumers who regularly consume preserved eggs.

What are the goals of the project?

This project will identify if Chinese preserved eggs purchased in North America are contaminated with heavy metals and if so, if the concentration of heavy metals are within acceptable limits. This project will also attempt to evaluate if consumers are safe when eating preserved eggs, or if they are exposing themselves to high concentrations of heavy metals.


To do this, we will purchase 24 preserved eggs to analyze, and we will analyze the shell and the soft egg within separately, to identify if heavy metal contamination is present, and if it is localized to a specific portion of the egg.

Budget

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$350 for reagents utilized during the experiment.


Reagents will include analytical standards, consumables such as pipette tips, gloves, nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, hydrochloric acid, and money to cover the cost of utilizing a Flame AA at my institution.

Endorsed by

Interesting research that could influence regulations and testing surrounding the importation of food.

Flag iconProject Timeline

Nov 30, 2017

Gather all samples (eggs) and reagents

Dec 05, 2017

Project Launched

Jan 19, 2018

Conduct experiments and collect results

Jan 31, 2018

Write report/paper on findings and publish results to scientific community at large.

Meet the Team

Patrick D'Aoust
Patrick D'Aoust
Technical officer, environmental engineering

Patrick D'Aoust

I am an avid researcher, focused on water quality in stormwater retention pond and stormwaters systems in general, but I also take interest in niche problems.

Lab Notes

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