News from Taiwan: 167 ingredient suppliers affected by toxic contamination
By Kevin Stoda
I flew to Taipei this past Friday and the big news ther is an issue which affects almost all consumers of foods and beverages in the country (and globally.) The issue is of food additives. The TAIWAN NEWS reported that the cancer-causing DEHP has been detected in the products of 47 local [Taipei] food and drink manufacturers.¡¨
While neighboring China has long been out-of-control in terms of the abusive usage of food additives, i.e. which endanger and kill people, now, the awareness of Taiwan¡¦s homegrown malpractice in food manufacturing is gaining under the spotlight.
As of this very weekend, the Taiwan government has stated that any store found selling food with the DEHP or related long-life and emulsifying additives like it ¡§will be fined per item¡¨ starting on May 31, 2011.
As in China, where the organic movement is growing ( however miniscule it still is ) in response the Chinese government¡¦s lack of will in protecting its own citizens, an organic movment is also growing in Taiwan. In both countries it is hoped that the local and national organic groups, producers--and other concerned citizens--can put pressure on the government to respond quicker to bad food production practices.
The delay in the case of DEHP is obvious. DEHP has been used for over two decades by manufactures to make food and beverages¡Xjuices and sports drinks¡Xlook more appealing. Awareness f problems with DEHP were also reported in other coutnries decades ago.
In short, just as in neighboring China, the Taiwan governmnet has historically been far too lax in regulating the food prodcution industry to-date. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in Taiwan, however, is responding in record time by banning DEHP and other emulsifiers¡Xwithin a few weeks of the most national outcry caused by reported various adverse health reports in the land.
Such a wide range of products being placed under forced removal from food shelves in the country is impressive-as such a pace is normally reserved for E-coli and other pandemic causing agents or pathologies being encountered
Moreover, the perfume industry is also under fire in Taiwan. ¡§ Prosecutors yesterday seized bank accounts and property belonging to the owner of a chemical company at the center of a food additive scare, a Ministry of Justice (MOJ) official said.¡¨
This contrasts greatly with the USA where enforcement by law officials in the financial and health scadals of recent years have rarely found offiicals under arrest and being prosecuted for their bad will and efforts towards consumers and others in the society.
Taiwanese ¡§Ministry of Justice Prosecution Office Deputy Director Lin Jinn-tsun ( ªLÀA§ø ) said prosecutors had seized five accounts and three properties belonging to Lai Chun-chieh ( ¿à«T³Ç ), owner of Yu Shen Chemical Co ( ¬R¦ù»®Æ¦³¤½¥q ) and his wife.¡¨