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Gov’t monitoring food imports from Taiwan

MANILA, Philippines—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, a food official said Saturday.

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).

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“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.

“Efforts to trace the local counterpart of this company are currently in progress,” she added.

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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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TAGS: DEHP, Food, Food and Drug Administration, food safety, foreign trade, Taiwan
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