The latest health scare involving the massive use of a chemical, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), in bottled food and drinks has triggered concern among domestic food and beverage manufacturers that their image at home and abroad might be undermined by the incident.
Initial investigations show that the tainted ingredients and products were either produced by Yu Shen Chemical Co or came from the company’s suppliers.
The incident has so far embroiled nearly 170 upstream and midstream suppliers and manufacturers, including several famous brands, which have been busy recalling or changing the recipes for their products to protect their reputation and business.
In Yunlin County, the government has ordered cooperative stores at 50 elementary and junior high schools to temporarily suspend the sale of sports drinks and juice pending final examination results.
The National Sports Training Center in Greater Kaohsiung has also stopped selling sports drinks.
The concern has spread to the general public and businesses are worried that their hard-won reputations might be destroyed overnight.
Chen Mei-yen (陳美燕), general manager of Presotea (鮮茶道), a popular tea drink chain with more than 160 shops nationwide, said the company had recalled 7.4 tonnes of products allegedly tainted by DEHP after learning of the incident on Monday.
All recalled products will be destroyed, Chen said.
She said the tea house chain used a concentrated jelly from one ISO-certified supplier for making juice, but vowed that the company would only use fresh fruit in the future.
Presotea spokesman Chen Shien-chieh (鄭仙玠) said that although specially prescribed juice was not their key drink item, business had shrunk by an average of 20 percent over the last three days.
Possmei Corp, which exports raw materials and ingredients for Taiwan’s famous bubble milk tea to a tea shop in London, said eight ingredients that the company purchased from upstream suppliers were discovered to contain DEHP, but not the materials that were provided to the London shop.
Two children’s health food products under the Taiwan branch of Cerebos Pacific have also been found to contain DEHP, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The contaminated products — a calcium supplement and a multivitamin tablet for children — were immediately pulled from store shelves after the chemical was detected, the company said.
Cerebos Taiwan said the two products were manufactured by a local maker, Prince Pharmaceutical Co, which purchased its ingredients from Yu Shen Chemical.