By BEH YUEN HUI
BATU PAHAT: Food and pharmaceutical products from China have been put on the highest alert after some of them were found to contain harmful elements and violating specifications.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said these products were placed on Level Five of the imported foods monitoring scale, which is the highest.
Under this, he said all food, including herbal products and health supplements, must be tested before they were allowed to enter the country.
It also required that pharmaceutical products from China be registered with the Health Ministry and for the importer to obtain a licence for each product.
Dr Chua said the food products would be tested for pesticides, antibiotics, heavy metals and other matter which would have negative health effects.
He said imports from China would only be allowed into the country if they were safe for consumption, otherwise, they would have to be destroyed or returned.
“With all the tests and requirements, we can be assured that all products in the market are safe,” he said.
Dr Chua said that in the first seven months of the year, 217 pharmaceutical products were found to have not followed the specifications set by the ministry.
He said warnings and other actions, including revoking licences and cancelling registrations, were taken against offenders.
He said 18 types of food were also found to have violated the Food Act 1983.
He said the products that included honey, red dates, seaweed, preserved fruits and salted vegetables and preserved salted radish contained, among others, chloramphenicol, heavy metals and benzoic acid.
Dr Chua, who is also Johor MCA chairman and Labis MP, was talking to the press after attending the launching and ground-breaking ceremony for an upgrading project of the hospital here yesterday