Posts Tagged ‘melamine’
In one of the posts, I pointed out that if MOH is responsible in ensuring compliance with the Food Act and its regulations, then the MOH should NOT rely on warranties from importers, manufacturers etc to confirm that the product in question is melamine free.
After all, MOH is the nation’s watchdog when it comes to compliance with the relevant regulations and it cannot perform that role merely by choosing to rely on some so called warranty. It must perform its own analysis before being able to say with any degree of certainty that such and such a product or item is safe for consumption.
Tags: food act, melamine
Posted in History/Current Affairs | Comments Off
On 6.10.2008, the Ministry of Health issued a revised list of products which have been “analysed and comply with standards for melamine”. I am not sure whether this means that the products are melamine free or merely contains permissible levels of melamine.
Any concerns arising from that uncertainty is heightened by the fact that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has opted to go down a different route as far as melamine content in food are concerned.
On 3.10.2008, the US FDA stated:
“If products are adulterated because they contain melamine, (authorities) will take appropriate actions to prevent the products from entering commerce,” the FDA said in a statement. The agency said it was setting the 2.5 parts-per-million standard to address situations in which the chemical accidentally comes into contact with , such as in cases where it is used for industrial purposes in a factory that makes food products.
Officials also stressed that infant formula sold to U.S. consumers must be completely free of melamine.
“There is too much uncertainty to set a level in infant formula and rule out any public health concern,” the FDA said.”
The key things that are apparent from that statement is this:
- The US FDA does not condone foods being DELIBERATELY spiked with melamine.
- Infant formula must be completely free of melamine.
The question flowing on from that is what exactly is MOH’s stand as far as melamine is concerned?
In one of its FAQs on melamine, MOH confirms that the addition of melamine in food is contrary to the Food Act 1983 and the regulations issued thereunder. (This conforms with the US FDA approach.) Nevertheless, I wonder how we can reconcile that with the MOH’s list of products which “comply with standards for melamine. Is MOH taking the view that, contrary to its response in the FAQ, melamine laced food is legally permissible – deliberate or otherwise?
Tags: food act, melamine
Posted in History/Current Affairs | 2 Comments »
China’s recent melamine-laced milk debacle has had an interesting beneficial effect for consumers. Most Malaysian dairy importers, vendors and manufacturers (collectively “Manufacturers”), understandably keen to ensure that their products are not lumped together with dairy products originating from China, have been quick to put up advertisements confirming that their products do not contain milk sourced from China. The beneficial effect being that consumers now know where the milk in the dairy products consumed actually originate from.
Even Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has got onto the melamine “frenzy” bandwagon by setting up a specific page on this issue. What I found interesting was the 4th. October, 2008 press release listing products which are melamine free or though contains melamine nevertheless adheres to the permissible limits. In Enclosure 2, the Ministry confirms that some RM600,000.00 worth of products have been confiscated. Yet, none of the products have been identified and neither does the press release explain why this is so.
Its also interesting to note that products which have been “certified” as melamine-free appears to be “certified” on the basis of a warranty supplied by the manufacturers, importers and/or vendors. (Please see Enclosure 1 in this regard which refers to “warranties” being given to prove this or that.)
No doubt these “warranties” have been given by manufacturers pursuant to s. 30 of Malaysia’s Food Act. Nevertheless, that practice of requesting “warranties” seem puzzling when the responsibility lies with MOH to test products (and samples from time to time) prior to the relevant permits being given for its sale. One may be tempted to ask – does the MOH carry out tests on its own initiative from time to time to ascertain whether products comply with food regulations?
On the one hand, that question can be answered in the affirmative given the disclosure that some RM600,000.00 worth of products have been seized. On the other, there is the puzzling insistence to refer to the “warranties” in Enclosure 1 as a basis for representing that such and such a product does not contain milk sourced from China or contains permissible levels of melamine. Some clarification from MOH may be necessary in this regard.
As an aside, it is interesting to note that most Manufacturers have put up advertisements merely confirming that their products does not contain milk sourced from China. I wonder where are the ones which confirm their products are melamine free. So, will the real “Dutch Lady” please stand up?
NOTE : Melamine is generally used as an adulterant in food in dairy products and animal feed to lend the appearance of higher protein levels. At the risk of sounding a Doomsday Prophet, China’s melamine-laced milk scandal may be only the tip of the iceberg. In 2007, fish and livestock feed in US were found to have contained melamine.
Tags: food act, melamine
Posted in History/Current Affairs | 6 Comments »