A number of sports and soft drinks brands have been removed from supermarket shelves in Taiwan as a result of contamination with a banned chemical, according to local reports.

Four convenience store chains and eight hypermarkets have agreed to stop selling several soft drinks brands, following a request by the country's Consumer Protection Commission on Monday (23 May), the Taipei Times has reported. The carcinogenic chemical DEHP was reportedly detected in 16 samples of drinks in Taiwan, including Vitality Foodservice's Sunkist lemon juice, Deep Ocean Water Co's Taiwan Yes, and a sports drink produced by Young Energy Source Co.

DEHP is described as "a cost effective general-purpose plasticiser", used for making plastic and PVC soft and pliable. According to reports, while emulsifiers are a legitimate ingredient of food additives, plasticisers are not. Emulsifiers are added to sports drinks and fruit juices to give them a “clouded and rich” look.

Prosecutors are questioning Lai Chun-Chieh, a manager at Yu Shen Co, which has been manufacturing the additive for some time, the publication noted.