Food firms’ shares were under pressure on the local bourse yesterday as more products were found to contain the banned chemical di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, dealers said.
Food sector shares closed down 0.8 percent, underperforming the broader market, as the benchmark weighted index rose 0.24 percent to finish at 8,810.00.
The DEHP scare surfaced earlier in the week when local health authorities detected the banned chemical in a slimming supplement and then in sports drinks and soft drinks.
The scare has snowballed with more food products, including children’s food supplements and vitamins as well as ingredients used to make bubble tea, found to be tainted.
As of noon yesterday, a total of 130 food products were confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration to contain DEHP, while 95 manufacturers were found to have used the banned ingredient.
The incident has caused major product recalls in Taiwan and even in neighboring markets, such as Hong Kong and Shanghai.
“More and more investors are turning away from food stocks at the moment amid fears that the contamination wave will continue to spread,” MasterLink Securities (元富證券) analyst Tom Tang (湯忠謙) said.
Tang said beverage stocks encountered the heaviest pressure as investors feared the health scare would reduce consumption.
With no sign of an immediate end to the incident, Tang said, the food sector is expected to face further selling over the next few trading sessions.