Gov’t monitoring food imports from Taiwan

THE government is closely monitoring food products and additives imported from Taiwan that
might be contaminated with a chemical harmful when taken in high doses.

Food and Drug Administration Director Suzette H. Lazo said the agency was on the lookout for
food products from Taiwan that might contain the chemical Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).

“The Taiwan government has informed the Department of Health that a company may have
imported food products containing additives contaminated by DEHP to the Philippines,” Lazo said
in a statement.

While the FDA statement did not cite any specific food products, officials in Taiwan, which is
going through a food scare, said the problem was confined to sports drinks, fruit juices, teas, fruit
jams and preserves, food powders and food supplement tablets.

Widely used in the manufacture of articles such as intravenous bags and tubings, blood bags and
infusion tubings and nasogastric tubes, DEHP was “found to be illegally added” to a food product
raw material intended for emulsification in Taiwan, Lazo said.

She added that while low doses of DEHP were generally safe, high doses or prolonged exposure
can have harmful effects.

Children are especially prone to the harmful effects of high doses of DEHP or to repeated
exposure which can lead to testicular effects, fertility problems and toxicity to kidneys, Lazo said.

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