FOOD SCARE WIDENS: WHO informed of DEHP contamination

Staff Writer, with CNA, GENEVA

Sat, May 28, 2011 - Page 3

The WHO said on Thursday it had been informed of a food contamination incident in Taiwan in connection with an emulsifier adulterated with the chemical di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP.

Gregory Hartl, spokesman for the WHO’s Global Alert and Response Network for epidemics and other public health emergencies, confirmed that the WHO had received a report from the Department of Health about the case.

Asked if the WHO had any initial comment about the incident, Hartl said the world health regulatory body was still gathering information about the case and as such, has not made a complete assessment.

The department informed the WHO’s International Food Safety Authorities Network via e-mail the previous day of the emulsifying additive contamination issue.

With more brand-name beverages and foodstuffs found to contain the industrial chemical, a health official said in Taipei on Thursday that the agency would write to the WHO again in the coming days to provide more information.