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Call to stop supply of an "iceflake" and consumption of an asparagus juice imported from Taiwan

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (June 14) that a sample of "iceflake" collected from a local frozen confection factory was found to contain a plasticiser, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). The CFS has instructed the trade to immediately stop the use and sale of the product.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS received information earlier that a manufacturer was suspected of using ingredients that may have been tainted with plasticisers for producing flavoured ice which is to be supplied to retailers for making frozen confections. A sample of "iceflake" flavoured by fruit juice was then collected from the manufacturer, Wick Sa Food Co, Ltd (translation), for testing. Test result today revealed that the sample contained DEHP at a level of 12 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the action level of 1.5 ppm adopted by the CFS.

"Dietary exposure estimation showed that the exposure to DEHP by average and high consumers from consuming the concerned product would not exceed the Tolerable Daily Intake of 0.025mg/kg of body weight under the World Health Organization Guidelines, which will not pose a risk to human health.

"However, as a precautionary measure, the CFS has instructed the concerned manufacturer to immediately stop the supply of the product, recall those that have been supplied to retailers and contact the supplier/importer of the ingredients to follow up.

"Investigations by the CFS are still ongoing and samples of the ingredients suspected to be plasticizer-tainted have also been collected for testing," the spokesman said.

Referring to the health effects of DEHP, the spokesman said, the acute oral toxicity of DEHP is low. As for chronic toxicity, DEHP was found to affect the liver and kidney as well as the reproduction and development of experimental animals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that DEHP is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Meanwhile, the CFS is also calling on the trade to immediately stop the sale of the following asparagus juice produced in Taiwan, which might have been contaminated with plasticiser di-isononyl phthalate (DINP). Members of public are also urged not to consume the product for the time being.

Product name : Uni-President asparagus juice (translation)
Manufacturer : Uni-President Enterprises Corp.
Exporter : TTX Trade Co, Ltd
Expiry date : August 1, 2011

The spokesman said, "The Centre received the latest notification from the Taiwanese authority that consignments of the juice suspected to be tainted with DINP had been distributed to Hong Kong. The CFS has at once contacted the concerned exporter in Taiwan. The responsible person of the company informed that the drink, which had been re-exported to other places via Hong Kong, was not for sale in Hong Kong."

Nevertheless, the CFS has alerted the trade of such information and will conduct checks at retail outlets. Samples will be taken for testing if the product concerned is found on sale.

"If any food product is found to be tainted with plasticisers, the CFS will make an order as soon as possible to prohibit the import and supply of the product concerned under existing legislation, and to direct that any affected food product be recalled and disposed of."

He added, "The CFS will continue to closely liase with the Taiwanese authority on the plasticiser contamination incident, monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up actions."

Ends/Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Issued at HKT 22:10

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Last revision date:14-06-2011