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Taiwanese Food Scandal Creates International Scare

Taiwanese Food Scandal Creates International Scare

Taiwanese food scandal hits China, Philippines, South Korea and possible the USA…

The Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into a number of food and drink products thought to contain a harmful chemical known as Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or (DEHP). The scandal has led to the recall of nearly one million items manufactured by some of the islands largest food and drinks manufacturers, with Taiwan’s four largest convenience stores President Chain Store Corp, Family Mart, OK-Mart and Hi-Life – have being forced to remove sports drinks containing DEHP off the shelves.

DEHP is typically used in making plastics or leather goods, however it can be added to food and drink as a clouding agent to make it look more appealing, and is often as a substitute for more palm oil or Arabic gum. Not only is DEHP cheaper than its alternative, it also increases the shelf life of these products, which makes it a tempting ingredient for companies looking to cut costs.

taiwanese food scandal yu shen products Taiwanese Food Scandal Creates International Scare

Yu Shen At Center Of Taiwanese Food Scandal

The company at center of the scandal, Yu Shen, Taiwan’s largest emulsifier supplier has been found to produce over 500 tones of DEHP every year. The study also claims that the company has been using the clouding agent in its products for over two decades and has supplied a total of 244 other companies with its emulsifier.

Items found to contain DEHP included bottled tea and juices, sports drinks, fruit jam, fruit jelly, syrup, and yogurt. The DEHP carcinogen levels were found to be as high as 600 parts per million, an amount far exceedng the allowable daily intake of the chemical.

Over 500 items manufactured by 155 Taiwanese food and drink companies have been found to contain DEHP. These companies are claiming up to 20% loss of revenue due to the scandal.

Children who consume beverages contaminated with DEHP on a long-term basis are 8 times likely to develop problems with their reproductive system. Males are more at risk of suffering from feminization and shrinking of the penis and testicles. Girls are more likely to develop sexual organs prematurely. Thyroid dysfunction and fertility problems can also manifest later on in life.

Not all brands have been named so far, however environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalitionan reports that:

Up to 465,638 bottles of DEHP-tainted beverages have been pulled out from store shelves. Also, up to 270,822 boxes and 68,924 packs of powdered probiotics and 28,539 kilos of fruit juices, fruit jam, powder and syrup, and yoghurt powder have been removed from shelves,

Warnings have also been issued against Nature House Lactic Acid Bacteria (apple vinegar-flavored lactic acid powder) produced by King Car Group; Skinny Dietary Drinks by Chang Gung Biotechnology Corp.; Taiwan Sugar Ginger Clam Tablets by Taiwan Sugar Corporation; and, Dongli Sports Drinks and Dongli Lemon Sports Drinks.

Unfortunately the scandal isn’t limited to Taiwan, food and drinks that contain DEHP have also been exported to United States, mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Some of these products have already been banned in mainland China and South Korea.

People residing in any of these countries that regularly consume Taiwanese food products and ingredients, could be advise to keep a close eye on the Taiwanese FDA website, for an official list of products recalled due to DEHP scandal.

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