Adverse child health impacts resulting from food adulterations in the Greater China region

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Food adulteration has a long history in human society, and it still occurs in modern times. Because children are relatively vulnerable to food adulterants, studying the health impacts of food adulteration on children is important. This article provides an overview of the child health impacts of food adulterants in two recent food adulteration incidents in the Greater China Region: 1) a plasticizer incident in Taiwan and 2) a 2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine (melamine)-tainted milk incident in China. The involved food adulterants (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate [DEHP], diisononyl phthalate [DiNP] and melamine) are harmful to the hippocampus, kidneys, reproductive organs, and immune system of children, and they also increase the risk of cancer. To detect food adulteration and to avoid further harm caused by food adulteration, simple screening methods have been developed, and they have recently emerged as a new focus area for research. This article also summarizes the simple screening methods used to analyse the aforementioned food adulterants and reports how governments reacted to the recent food incidents. Copyright © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3897-3916
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number12
Early online dateMay 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017



Li, W. C., & Chow, C. F. (2017). Adverse child health impacts resulting from food adulterations in the Greater China region. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 97(12), 3897-3916. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8405


  • Food adulteration
  • Health impacts
  • Melamine
  • Phthalate
  • Plasticizer