Shanghai checks for tainted Taiwan food products

08:39, May 27, 2011      

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SHANGHAI authorities are investigating the local market for food from Taiwan possibly containing a carcinogenic additive.

Taiwan's biggest food additive supplier, the Yu Shen Spice Co Ltd, was found to have been adding DEHP, a plastic polymer, to a thickening agent over the past five years to save costs.

Long term ingestion can damage the liver and kidneys, cause female sexual precocity, harm male reproductive capacity, and is a possible cause of cancer, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

The tainted food, including sports drinks, jam, fruit juice, yoghurt, dried fruit and health food, may be on sale in Taiwan, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, the United States, Vietnam and the Philippines, the Taiwan Department of Health reported.

More than 40 food producers, inlcuding Yes Water, Sunkist and Triko, are involved in the case as they had bought the thickening agent from Yu Shen.

In Taiwan, all food that could have been tainted with the additive has been ordered to be removed from shelves. Up to yesterday, more than 240,000 bottles of sports drinks, tea drinks and fruit juice, and more than 20 tons of jam and yoghurt powder had been recalled, Xinhua said.

"We can make it clear where all the tainted products have gone in a day or two," said Sheu Minnung, director of the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration.

Meanwhile, some Taiwan supermarkets and convenient stores have decided not to sell any sports drinks until the authorities find all the tainted products, Xinhua said.

Taiwan has reported the case to the World Health Organization because of its possible impact around the world. The director of the Yu Shen company has been arrested.

According to the Taiwan Department of Health, the Shanghai Shunda Food Seasoning Co Ltd is also involved. But the company yesterday denied that their products were affected.

"Our products have passed authorities' inspection, which means they are safe," said the sales manager of the company, surnamed Li.

Meanwhile, Triko dried fruit and vegetables were still on sale in Shanghai, including at City Shop in Nanjing Road W.

Shop assistants there said they hadn't received any order from Shanghai authorities requiring sales of the products to be stopped.

The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said that until the state-level bureau had issued a directive, it couldn't comment.

"We are still double checking the facts," said bureau official Han Chunli. "And we are also waiting for the state authorities' response."

Source: Shanghai Daily
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