Last update 6/2/2011 10:50:00 AM (GMT+7)

Harmful drink additive seized

VietNamNet Bridge – Officials from the Viet Nam Food Administration yesterday impounded a consignment of drink additive thought to be harmful to health.

Chan Huang Ming, director of New Choice Foods Company in southern Binh Duong Province's Ben Cat District, admitted to importing di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) from Triko Foods Co Ltd in Taiwan.

All of the company's products were sealed off, and the company was asked to take back its products which are on sale on the market. Earlier DEHP was detected in some soft drink samples in Taiwan.

To Minh Huong, a lecturer of the Ha Noi National University's chemistry department, said DEHP was a kind of slimy liquid with no colour. It can dissolve in oil but not in water.

The substance has been used mainly for making polyviny chloride (PVC) soft and pliable. When used in processing soft drink, it creates precipitation and viscidity for fruit juice and agar.

DEHP could affect male fertility and female puberty, she said.

The administration has sought more information from the Global Food Safety Network and would warn domestic food manufacturers, said director of the Viet Nam Food Administration Nguyen Cong Khan.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday set up inspection teams in all cities and provinces across the country. The team will focus their inspection on big cities where consume a great quantity of the product. Officials would also check food and soft drinks, especially those imported from Taiwan, and take samples for tests, he said.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Department of Food Safety and Hygiene took 13 food, soft drink and milk samples from markets, supermarkets and companies in the city for testing.

According to statistics of Sai Gon Customs Department Region 1, many soft drinks and fruit juices were imported from Taiwan since the beginning of this year.

Deputy director of the department Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai said the department would join hands with health, industrial and trade departments and the city police to check all food processing and trading enterprises in the city.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News