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Bubble tea materials sold to UK shop free of plasticizers: exporter

2011/05/31 13:43:30

Taipei, May 31 (CNA) None of the ingredients sold to the firstTaiwan-style bubble tea house in London were contaminated with thepotential carcinogen DEHP, the supplier said Tuesday.

"All of our products exported to Bubbleology, including fruitjuices, jams, Q fruit, popping boba and fruit powders, were all freeof any toxic plasticizer, " said a spokesman for Possmei Corp., alocal food processor that specializes in bubble tea ingredients.

The company sent more than 70 of its products to healthauthorities for testing to see if they contained any of the sixbanned chemical plasticizers -- DEHP, DINP, DNOP, DIDP, DBP and BBP-- in accordance with Department of Health (DOH) requirements, thespokesman said.

"None of the products sold to the British bubble tea shop testedpositive for the chemicals," the spokesman said.

He said Bubbleology's owner Assad Khan was very concerned aboutthe discovery of toxic plasticizers DEHP and DINP in soft drinks anddietary supplements sold in Taiwan.

"Khan has called us on many occasions to verify whether ouringredients shipped to him were adulterated with any toxicchemicals," the spokesman said.

According to Khan, his shop's business has been affected by theplasticizer contamination scare in Taiwan.

Khan opened Bubbleology in London's bustling Soho district inApril to sell authentic bubble tea, a uniquely Taiwanese beveragemade from different flavors of tea plus milk and tapioca balls or"pearls."

The shop, which imports all of the required ingredients,equipment and accessories from Taiwan, became an instant success,selling an average of 500 to 600 cups of bubble tea a day, and up to1,000 cups on weekends.

Khan told Possmei that sales fell after reports surfaced May 23that Yu Shen Chemical Co. added DEHP to its clouding agents, anadditive commonly used in sports drinks, juices, fruit jam andpowders to make the products appear more visually appealing toconsumers.

Sales soon recovered but plunged again after another Taiwanesecompany was found last weekend to have illegally added di-isononylphthalate (DINP) into its clouding agents, Khan was cited as tellingPossmei.

"We have reassured him of the wholesomeness of our products, "the Possmei spokesman said, adding that he hoped the British shop'ssales would rebound soon.

On the detection of DEHP in eight of Possmei's fruit juiceconcentrates -- none of which were sold to Bubbleology -- thespokesman said the company has notified its clients at home andabroad to pull those products off store shelves and destroy them.

Starting Tuesday in Taiwan, retailers were barred from sellingfive categories of food and beverages -- sports drinks, juices, teadrinks, fruit jams or syrups, and dietary tablets or powders --unless they were certified as being free of the six plasticizerscited by the DOH.

The five categories of products all generally contain cloudingagents.

(By Sunrise Huang and Sofia Wu)
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