Checks rise on tainted Taiwanese products

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am


Hong Kong's top health official has called on importers of Taiwanese food and drugs to voluntarily recall suspected tainted products.

Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, Secretary for Food and Health, said yesterday the government would increase inspections of Taiwanese food imports after more than a million food and beverage items were found to contain a cancer-causing agent known as DEHP.

'Any products with this chemical will be removed from shelves,' he said. Importers of Taiwanese goods should act to recall suspected products themselves, he said

Taiwanese authorities have found a brand of syrup used to make children's medicine contained DEHP. Taiwan's Tea Time House was earlier found to have used DEHP, which can also harm the liver and kidneys, to make its Passiona Fruit Juice drink.

Sales of some drinks in the chain's Hong Kong outlets have been halted to calm safety fears. The Centre for Food Safety said test results on passion fruit juice would be revealed this week.

Chow said there was no need for undue concerns over Taiwanese-made drugs imported to Hong Kong. William Chui Chun-ming, vice-president of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, confirmed that most drug syrups came from Singapore and the mainland.

Taiwan authorities found last week that DEHP, which acts as a clouding agent to improve taste and appearance, had been added to some food and drink products in the past five years. More than a million drink and food items produced by about 200 food firms have been tainted by the chemical.