While conducting an inspection project on counterfeit drugs in 2011, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a probiotic product that was contaminated with the plasticizer di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). After a thorough investigation, it was confirmed that the plasticizer had been deliberately added to the clouding agent as a substitute for an emulsifier. The illegal use of DEHP contaminated a broad range of foods and nutraceutical products. Subsequent investigation revealed that another plasticizer, diisononyl phthalate (DINP), was also used. Some contaminated food and beverages had already been exported abroad. This caused panic in the public in Taiwan and drew international attention. The government thus initiated emergency response actions for this food safety incident. Actions were undertaken to perform food source control, to strengthen monitoring and surveillance of the production and marketing chain, to adopt a proactive approach in communicating with the public, and to trade in a highly transparent manner. The Act Governing Food Sanitation was also revised to impose harsher penalties on unscrupulous companies and thereby ensure food safety with more consolidated and stricter regulation. The effort has regained the consumer confidence in Taiwanese products. Copyright © 2013, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC. All rights reserved.

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