Taiwan food contamination reaches Australia

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 21st June 2011

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has announced the withdrawl of one product from Australian shelves, an asparagus juice, having been identified as one of the products made with plasticiser-contaminated emulsifiers in Taiwan.

At least one factory in Taiwan was found to be using Di-Ethyl Hexyl Phthalate (DEHP) in place of more expensive palm oil in the manufacture of its clouding agents, while another factory was using Di-Isononyl Phthalate (DINP). Both compounds are carcinogenic and can cause hormonal abnormalities.

The brand of asparagus juice has not been identified by FSANZ, nor is it listed in the authority’s current consumer-level recalls.

FSANZ said that the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration was continuing to track affected products and is informing agencies in countries where these products have been exported, but criticisms have been levelled at the Taiwanese agencies for the difficulty involved in tracking the products. Early in the crisis, isolating the contaminated products was so difficult that agencies instead released a list of products that were confirmed to be uncontaminated.

FSANZ said it is continuing to monitor information from overseas, and that further action may be taken as more information becomes available.