Mainland bans tainted food, drink from Taiwan

08:35, June 02, 2011      

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Imports of food and drink from Taiwan that may be contaminated with DEHP, an additive linked to cancer, have been banned by the Chinese mainland.

The General Administration of Quality, Inspection and Quarantine yesterday issued a blacklist of 10 brands, including Uni-President and Possmei, of products such as sports drinks, fruit juice, tea drinks, jam and food additives.

Food imported from Taiwan must hold a DEHP-free certificate, before it is allowed into the mainland, according to a statement by the quality watchdog.

DEHP was used by illegal producers to replace palm oil as a thickener, or clouding agent, usually in fruit jelly, yogurt mix powder, juices, sports drinks and other beverages.

Three types of Uni-President drinks are on the banned list - guava juice, sugarcane juice and cumquat and lemon juice.

Yesterday, the problem sugarcane juice was found to be still on sale in some Shanghai supermarkets.

Lotus's Yanggao Road S. branch in the Pudong New Area had more than 20 packs of Uni-President sugarcane juice on the shelves, but store officials later removed them.

Yang Shouzheng, a spokesman for President Enterprises China Investment Co, Uni-President's Shanghai subsidiary, said the beverages on the list were sold mainly in south China through two distributors in Fujian Province, but dozens of boxes of sugarcane juice had entered the Shanghai market.

"We are helping trading companies to remove those beverages from shelves on China's mainland and are accepting product returns," he said.

In a statement, the subsidiary company said it did not use clouding agents in its production on China's mainland and no DEHP had been found in its ingredients after checks by quality inspectors in Guangzhou. The company also noted it had never bought ingredients from two additive producers that were on the banned list.

Uni-President produces more than eight kinds of beverage on China's mainland, including tea drinks, juices, coffees and mineral water. It also makes instant noodles and cookies.

Shanghai supermarkets, including Lotus and Carrefour, said they had been removing beverages suspected of contamination since Tuesday and were waiting for further notice of any other products that should be recalled., China's leading e-commerce platform, also said it would remove references to suspect products from its search results.

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it will carry out an inspection soon to see whether the problem products were still on supermarket shelves.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration is to check local restaurants for any of the items included on the banned list.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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