there is a huge scandal in taiwan right now in the food and beverage industry. taiwanese authorities are cracking down on food and beverage manufacturers for the use of DEHP, an additive normally found in plastic and PVC products to make them flexible. news articles can be found here, here, and here.
if you enjoy boba drinks or the various taiwanese snacks and beverages, it’s a good idea to completely avoid them for now. also, since it’s not known which boba shops are importing taiwanese ingredients, the safest thing is to avoid boba shops altogether. anyway, i’m reprinting one of the articles below.
DEHP contamination scandal threatens Taiwan’s business rep
CNA and Staff Reporter, 2011-05-27
The latest food safety panic involving the illegal addition of the cancer-causing plasticizer DEHP in food and drinks has become a media circus in Taiwan, causing grave concern among local food and beverage makers that their image at home and abroad might be undermined by the incident.
Initial investigations show that the tainted ingredients and products were either produced by Yu Sheng Chemical Co, or supplied by intermediaries downstream from the company.
As the scandal is fast-worsening and has so far embroiled nearly 170 up- and mid-stream suppliers and manufacturers, affected businesses, including many famous brands, have been busy recalling or changing the recipes for their products in a bid to maintain their business and retain their reputation.
In southern Taiwan’s Yunlin County, the local government has ordered cooperative stores at 50 elementary and junior high schools to temporarily suspend the sale of sports drinks and juice pending final examination results.
Meanwhile, the National Sports Training Center in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City has stopped selling sports drinks to its athletes.
The concern is even greater among the general public in Taiwan and businesses are deeply concerned that their hard-earned fame might be destroyed overnight.
Chen Mei-yen, general manager of Presotea, a popular tea drink chain operating over 160 shops throughout Taiwan, said the company has recalled 7.4 tons of products allegedly tainted by DEHP after learning of the incident on Monday and that they will destroy all of them.
Presotea spokesman Chen Shien-chieh said that although specially prescribed juice is not their key drink item, business at the chain shops has dwindled by 20% on average over the last three days.
Meanwhile, Possmei Corp., which exports raw materials and ingredients for Taiwan’s famous bubble milk tea to Bubbleology in London, has also fallen victim to the scandal. Eight ingredients that the company purchased from upstream suppliers were discovered to be tainted by DEHP, which did not include the materials sent to the London tea shop.
Earlier in the day, Possmei said it has notified its clients in more than 20 countries to stop selling its concentrated juice products until test results are made available.
Possmei Chairman Wang Chun-feng voiced concerns that the DEHP contamination issue will impact the entire beverage sector, just as Taiwan’s bubble tea has begun making headway into some foreign markets.
Considering some of the products have already been exported, the DOH has reported the case to the World Health Organization.