Hong Kong has banned two imported sports drinks contaminated by cancer-causing chemical DEHP as Taiwan struggles to contain its worst food scare in a decade. The level of DEHP detected in Speed Sports Drink, Speed Sports Drink (Lemon Flavour) and Brand's Calcium Grow Chewable Tablets exceeded the WHO safety levels by one to 17 times, Hong Kong health officials said. Hong Kong immediately banned the two drinks from sale. Chicken essence maker Brand's began a voluntary recall of the tainted products on Friday. All the retail outlets checked by the South China Morning Post last night had removed the products from their shelves. DEHP is used as a cheap substitute for vegetable oil to produce clouding agents that give beverages a more appealing flavour. However, it can affect the liver, kidneys and reproductive system and is particularly harmful to young people as it upsets their hormone balance. Children who consume 350ml of tainted fluid containing 12 parts per million (ppm) of DEHP on a daily basis for a year are six to eight times more at risk of developing problems with their reproductive system as adults, according to recent research by the Taiwan National Health Research Institutes. DEHP levels detected in the two sports drinks were 11 to 43 parts per million, whereas the level detected in the tablets was 40 ppm. Since last Tuesday, the Taiwanese authorities have found more than 506 drink and food products - produced by 156 manufacturers - to have been contaminated by DEHP. Only the two Speed sports drinks are exported to Hong Kong. Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety controller Dr Constance Chan Hon-yee urged the public not to panic. 'These sports drinks would only be harmful if you drank them every day for more than a decade. If you drink them occasionally, it should be fine,' she said. She said there was no need to ban all food imported from Taiwan and the government would continue testing Taiwanese food products and sports drinks from all origins. Hong Kong also imports 896 medications from Taiwan, 42 of which contain syrups that could be tainted with DEHP. The Department of Health said results of the five samples tested so far were satisfactory. It will finish tests on the remaining products in the coming week. The department said local drug manufacturer MPL used a Taiwanese brand of syrup in five of its products, but the suppliers were not those named by the Taiwanese authorities as DEHP users. The direct impact of the safety scare on Hong Kong is limited, but Taiwan's food industry is reeling. Media on the island have compared it to the mainland's melamine-tainted milk products scandal in 2008. Taiwanese authorities yesterday ordered an unprecedented inspection of all shops, canteens, night markets and drug stores. Online retailers are also being checked to make sure contaminated products aren't sold. From today, food and beverages containing clouding agents will be banned from sale in Taiwan, unless manufacturers can provide safety certificates, the island's health minister Chiu Wen-ta said. All sports drinks, juices, tea beverages, syrups, jams and powders that contain clouding agents must be tested before entering the market, Chiu said. Shops caught selling these products without safety certificates would be fined up to NT$1.5 million (HK$405,405), Chiu said.