The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public about the possibility of Di-Ethyl Hexyl Phthalate (DEHP) being added to certain foods and beverages imported from Taiwan.

Phthalates are a family of chemicals commonly used as plasticizers that have a large number of industrial and commercial applications. Phthalates are added to vinyl plastic to make it both soft and flexible.

Discovery of the chemical in some imported passion fruit, mango and litchi juices, as well as in dark plum jam, has led to a recall of the products imported by Kuo Hua Trading Co. and distributed in British Columbia and Ontario.

The CFIA said it is working with Health Canada, international food safety partners and importers to identify other affected foods and beverages that may be in the Canadian market.  Affected products will be subject to recall and posted to the CFIA website.

The health risks from phthalates are associated with prolonged exposure. Based on the information available to date, the levels of DEHP used fraudulently in the foods that have been implicated in the current food recalls in Taiwan are unlikely to lead to any acute toxic effects. For more information on phthalates, click here.

Although the immediate health risk associated with these products is considered to be low, this advisory is being issued as a result of the Canadian government’s ongoing investigation into phthalates in products that may have been imported into Canada.

Updates on the CFIA activities related to phthalates are available here or by calling 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday).