Basic Information
Abstract Number: 1930-2    
Author Name: Joseph Paul Romano Affiliation: Waters Corporation
Session Title: Industry, Academic, and Government Responses to Emerging Food Contaminants
Event Type: Workshop
Event Title: Rapid Screening for DEHP in Food and Beverage Products
Presider(s): Pegg, Randall Kevin Start Time: 02:30 PM ( Slot # 3 )
Date: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 Location: 313
Keywords: Food Science, Mass Spectrometry

Gay, MelvinWaters Corporation
Goh, EvelynWaters Corporation

Abstract Content
In May 2011, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) found DEHP in powdered probiotics, which was then traced back to the clouding agent supplier. The so-called “clouding agent” is a legal food additive that is commonly used in beverage, food and dietary supplements. However, the supplier intentionally replaced the additives with DEHP in order to cut costs. DEHP is 20 times more toxic than melamine, and is classified as a class 4 toxic chemical substance by the Environmental Protection Administration (Taiwan). Consumption of plasticizer-tainted food or beverage products increases the risk of reproductive abnormality. The regulations of Food Containers and Appliances mandate that the maximum DEHP dissolved from plastic items must not exceed 1.5 ppm and no DEHP can be added to food products. The international acceptance criteria of daily maximum consumption, ranges from 1.2 to 8.4 mg for a 60 kg adult.

The legislation requires all products found to be contaminated with DEHP be recalled and removed from the shelves immediately. Rigorous testing were carried out on six categories of food and beverages including sports drinks, fruit juices, tea drinks, fruit jam and jellies, food powders, and health supplement tablets. This poses a major analytical challenge as the complexity of food matrices requires different extraction techniques. Thus the ability to rapidly screen for the presence of DEHP using a simple technique with minimal sample preparation and no chromatographic separation would be advantageous.

Our response to this crisis will be discussed in this paper. Colleagues in Taiwan worked with Taiwan FDA and food testing labs for developing a better DEHP testing solution. In less than 2 minutes per sample, the presence of DEHP in a range of food matrices is accomplished from the sample preparation step to the analysis step.