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May 28, 2011

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Taiwan drink taken off shelves

MORE than 6,000 bottles of a sports drinks from Taiwan that may contain an additive linked to cancer were yesterday removed from shop shelves in Shanghai.

Altogether, 6,307 bottles of Yes sports drink for sale in Wal-Mart and M-Mart were withdrawn, said the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau (SICAB).

Officials ordered local markets to carry out self-inspection immediately and stop selling all products that carry a risk of being tainted.

The bureau will also undertake its own inspections.

According to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, 792 cases of the contaminated beverages entered the mainland market through Shanghai in March.

Of these 792 cases, 274 have been sold to local supermarkets.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said it will strengthen tests on food imported through Shanghai.

"We are also doubling checks on how much possibly tainted food has been flown in to the market," said Han Chunli, an official with the bureau.

This week, the Yu Shen Spice Co Ltd, Taiwan's biggest food additive supplier, was found to have been adding DEHP, a plastic polymer, to a thickening agent.

The tainted food may be on sale in 10 countries and regions, including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, the United States, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the Taiwan Department of Health.

More than 40 food manufacturers - including popular brands such as Yes, Triko and Sunkist - are involved.

Taiwan has started a massive recall of tainted food, including sports drinks, jam, yoghurt, fruit juice and health foods. It has reported the case to the World Health Organization.

Long term ingestion of DEHP can damage the liver and kidneys, cause female sexual precocity, harm male reproductive capacity and is a possible cause of cancer, health experts said.


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