Vietnam sets safe limit for DEHP plasticizer in food products

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The Ministry of Health has issued a new decision setting the safe limit for plasticizer Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) content allowed in food products, the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) announced Friday.

Under the decision, the safe level of DEHP in solid and liquid products in Vietnam, not including bottled drinks, is 1.5 mg/kg.

Nguyen Cong Khan, VFA chief, said the decision was made after the Health Ministry consulted top scientists and documents of the World Health Organization and FAO/WHO Food Standards and based on food consumption of Vietnamese people.

On Friday, the Taiwanese Health Ministry informed Vietnam of more DEHP-tainted products exported to Vietnam. The Topsense Beverage Co., Ltd's Starfruit Juice Drink, and Uni-President Enterprises Corp's Pro Sweet sports drink were tainted with plasticizer DINP, it said.

Last May, Taiwanese health authorities found that some companies in Taiwan were using the toxic chemical DEHP in making various food and beverage products.

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DEHP is a plasticizer frequently used in the production of plastics to make it soft and pliable. If consumed on a regular basis, DEHP can cause cancer and also lead to kidney or testicular damage and fertility problems.

Food contamination occurred when these companies intentionally added DEHP to emulsifiers to lower production costs. Emulsifiers, better known as cloudy agents, are legal food additives generally made of acacia gum, palm oil, and various food additives and used in juice and beverages to give them a cloudy, rich look.

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