June 22, 2011
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying the public about the possible presence of a plasticizer called diethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP) in certain food and beverages imported from Taiwan.
The Taiwan authorities responsible for food safety have informed the FDA of products shipped to the United States which they believe may be contaminated with DEHP. FDA is screening suspect food products from Taiwan for DEHP and for additional plasticizers such as butylbenzylphthalate, di-n-butylphthalate, dioctyl phthalate, and di-isodecyl phthalate. We expect that the number of suspect products may change as we continue to receive updated information from the Taiwan investigation.
Phthalates such as DEHP are primarily used as plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) polymers to increase their flexibility. The direct addition of DEHP to food is not permitted in the United States under the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Individuals are regularly exposed to plasticizers from a variety of environmental sources. Animal testing has indicated the possibility of adverse effects from long term exposures to DEHP. Little or no adverse health effects are expected from short-term exposure to DEHP at the levels reported to date in food products from Taiwan.
FDA has increased surveillance of food products from Taiwan that are offered for entry into the United States. We are working with Taiwan authorities to continue to identify products that are shipped to the United States that may contain DEHP or other plasticizers. Our review continues and, as we receive additional information, we will conduct further follow up investigations and take actions as warranted.
For more information, contact: The FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Food Information Line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (toll free), 10 AM to 4 PM ET, Monday through Friday.