PETALING JAYA: Three brands of a Taiwanese food product are being removed from the shelves here for containing carcinogens, while the Health Ministry is testing various other brands from the country.
The banned items comprise fruit and energy drinks (see graphics). The products being tested for possible traces of carcinogens - di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) include fruit juices, jellies, jams, yoghurts and sports drinks.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the ministry had been informed by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that three brands of food products were tainted with carcinogens.
He said DEHP and DINP were usually used in the production of plastic to make it more flexible.
“Both (chemicals) are added to a clouding agent (a food additive) to reduce food production costs,'' he said in a statement yesterday.
Liow said that following media reports on the tainted food products on May 25, the ministry contacted the importers concerned to make them immediately recall their items that were already in the local market.
“The public need not worry about the safety of food imported from Taiwan as safeguards are in place to inspect the products.
“Those who have already bought the products concerned are advised not to consume them,'' he added.
The minister warned that those found guilty of importing, storing, producing, distributing or selling the tainted products could be charged under Section 13 (1) of the Food Act 1983 and faced up to 10 years in jail, a fine of not more than RM100,000, or both.
Food Safety and Quality Division (FSQ) Putrajaya assistant director Leong Siew Hong said the unit was also sampling other Taiwanese food products from various outlets, including supermarkets and sundry shops, for traces of DEHP and DINP.
“These brands are available in most hypermarkets, especially in the central city areas,” he said.
“So far, we have taken 16 product samples for testing. We should be able to confirm within two days if the items are tainted.
“If they are, the items will be removed from the shelves and legal action will be taken against the companies responsible.” For details, call the FSQ or ministry at 03-88833652/3653 or visit http://moh.gov.my orhttp://fsq.moh.gov.my