Plastic film used by China’s supermarkets to wrap meat and vegetables may contain banned toxic plasticizers

Danger in supermarket plastic wrap   2013-07-30

By Hu Min

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhuanet) — Plastic film used by supermarkets to wrap meat and vegetables may contain banned toxic plasticizers that could impair male sexual function and lead to premature sexual development in females, according to China Central Television. Fifteen samples of polyvinyl chloride plastic wrap out of 16 samples sent for tests were found to contain bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), some at an alarming level, CCTV said. The plastic film was from produce bought in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, but CCTV did not name the brands or the supermarkets involved.The presence of DEHA can only be determined when it reaches 0.05 percent, and the highest content of DEHA in the samples was 472 times that level, CCTV said.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine issued a circular banning the use of DEHA in plastic wrap in 2005. “DEHA could lead to the disorder of endocrine system, impair male sexual function and cause female sexual precocity, and pose big risks to the genital development of infants,” said Dong Jinshi, vice president of the International Food Packaging Association.

Dong said the banned substance can leak out and penetrate into food more easily when the plastic wrap is used for foods with a high level of fat.

CCTV reporters visited the Tongxiang Chemical Co Ltd in Zhejiang Province, which supplies raw materials to companies such as the Wuxi Xindi Plastic Products Co and Shanghai Junshi Plastic Products Co. Tongxiang claimed its materials only contained dioctyl adipate (DOA), which is permitted under Chinese standards.

However, CCTV said DEHA was found in its sample products sent for tests.

The cost of raw materials for plastic wrap containing DEHA is 8,000 yuan (US$929) per ton compared with 12,000 yuan for plastic wraps containing DOA.

CCTV said Xu Xiaofeng, a business manager at the Tongxiang company, admitted it used DEHA as a raw material for plastic wrap due to its lower cost.

CCTV said polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic wrap accounts for about 70 percent of the market due to its lower cost compared with polyethylene (PE), and it is widely used at supermarkets to wrap vegetables, fruits and meat.

Experts said consumers should avoid buying PVC plastic wrap for domestic use and use the PE variety.

At the Hualian chain store on Dagu Road in Shanghai, one customer said she had heard about the problem. Although she had no idea how to tell PVC from PE, she said she took care when using plastic wrap.

“I neither put it in the microwave or use it to wrap meat or anything with oil,” she said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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