The John Tung Foundation yesterday said that only one out of 34 packaged sports drinks currently sold on the market clearly included “clouding agent” in its list of ingredients, while others play word games by re-naming the clouding agent in its labeling to confuse shoppers.
Since news broke out more than two weeks ago that industrial chemicals such as di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, and diisononyl phthalate, or DINP, had contaminated food and beverages, shoppers have been on the lookout for consumer products that may contain clouding agents. The chemicals were allegedly added to a commonly used clouding agent -manufactured by Yu Shen Chemical Co and Pin Han Perfumery Co, resulting in a massive recall of products from store shelves.
The foundation sampled 34 types of sports drinks from December last year to the end of last month to examine the product labeling on the package and found that only one beverage clearly labeled “clouding agent” on its list of ingredients. Other well-known brands of sports drinks that have been found to be contaminated with the chemicals, including Pro Sweat, manufactured by Uni-President, and Taiwan Yes sports drink, manufactured by Young Energy Source Co, did not indicate on its product packaging that the ingredients included clouding agent, instead using other names to confuse shoppers who may be misled into thinking that the ingredient is a type of fruit jam.
Hsu Hui-yu (許惠玉), director of John Tung Foundation’s Food and Nutrition Division, said that manufacturers should not mislead or confuse consumers as to what is contained in the drinks by playing word games when it comes to labeling ingredients.
“If the sports drink appears cloudy, then we need to figure out which ingredient the manufacturer added to the drink to make it appear cloudy [rather than clear],” she said.
“If it is not indicated that the beverage contains clouding agent, and none of the other ingredients on the label would make the drink appear cloudy, then the manufacturer has probably violated standards by not disclosing the full list of substances that were added to the drink,” she said.
Some packaged beverages were also found to violate food regulations by not ranking the ingredients in order from highest to lowest composition, the foundation said.
Others sought to bypass the regulation by including in its list of ingredients “food additive compound,” which, under current Department of Health regulations, is not required to be registered for inspection. This is a potential loophole hindering regulators from determining whether the food additive is contaminated with harmful chemicals, Hsu said.