Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eco group asks DepEd to take steps vs DEHP-tainted products

An environmental group asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to take measures to protect students from food items tainted with DEHP or di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate.

The EcoWaste Coalition said the DepEd can now take action now that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified the products suspected of being contaminated with DEHP.

DEHP, a suspected carcinogen, can damage the kidneys, liver and lungs, and cause reproductive and developmental disorders such as underdeveloped penises and testicles in boys and early puberty in girls.

“Now that we know which products from Taiwan are tainted with DEHP, we call upon our education officials to welcome the new academic year with an enthusiastic campaign on food safety," EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez said in a blog post.

He added the food safety awareness and action campaign should be rolled out in collaboration with school administrators, teachers, non-teaching personnel, students, parents, and food service providers, concessionaires and vendors.

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a tentative list of products believed to be contaminated with DEHP.

Alvarez said the campaign’s immediate objective should be to keep the tainted goods away from school canteens, snack kiosks, and convenience stores near schools.

The group also said school officials should initiate dialogues with canteen operators and food concessionaires to ensure that no DEHP-tainted goods are used or offered for sale to students.

On the other hand, it said convenience stores should not be allowed to sell recalled goods or high-risk products from Taiwan that have no safety certifications.

It added parents should exercise their right to be inquisitive if only to ensure that their children are not fed with the tainted items.

“You have the undeniable right to ask for full product details, secure safety guarantee for your kids and get the best value for your hard-earned money," Alvarez said.

EcoWaste also sought a crackdown of sorts on other unhealthy foods.

“Just as important is the objective of educating parents, students and other stakeholders to shun unhealthy foods such as those laden with synthetic and toxic chemicals, and those high in fat, salt and sugar," he said.

FDA advisory

In an advisory on Wednesday, the FDA listed the products, "whether registered or not with the FDA," that will be recalled and disposed of.

The FDA said products registered but not identified in the list shall be withdrawn from the market, and laboratory analysis will be required from them to confirm the absence of DEHP.

Only then shall these products be allowed for redistribution, it added.

The full list can be downloaded from the FDA website at http://www.bfad.gov.ph.

On Wednesday afternoon, the FDA uploaded a summary of implicated products worldwide, which included products from Taiwan to Singapore, Hong Kong, Xiamen and Beijing (China), and Canada.


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