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Baffling silence on tainted KR1M products

 | November 21, 2011

Opposition MP Tony Pua wants to know why is the Health Ministry taking so long to check on KR1M products which are allegedly harmful to children.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP MP, Tony Pua, today criticised the Health Ministry’s “pin-drop silence” over the controversy surrounding Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) products, especially the children’s milk powder allegedly containing over eight times the legal limit of Vitamin A which may be harmful to children.

Speaking to reporters at Parliament lobby today, Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, slammed the ministry’s inaction on the KR1M product despite allegations which were made over a week ago.

“The minister, Liow Tiong Lai, promised that he will not tolerate any shortcoming in any food products in meeting the minimum legal requirements,

“However, despite the exposé made a week ago on the serious deficiencies of the 1Malaysia Growing Up Milk Powder for one-year olds, there has been no statement whatsoever from the minister with regard to the action to be taken by the ministry or must be taken by KR1M,” he said.

He added that the “remarkable silence” from the minister showed that they were conspiring with the supplier to ensure that the KR1M brand name was not tainted.

He said that the products’ shortcomings were obvious to see on the label and that it would only require “30 minutes for ministry officials” to compare the nutrition levels and find the “serious deficiencies”.

Last week, Pua and other Pakatan Rakyat MPs alleged that the children’s milk fell short of the nutrition standards of the Food Regulations Act 1985.

Among other allegations, they said that the products contained eight times more vitamin A than was legally allowed.

Previously, PKR also made allegations about the substandard quality of other KR1M products such as the oyster sauce and its fresh milk.

Subsequently, KR1M announced that it has taken the children’s milk powder off the shelves. In a brief statement made on its website, no particular reason was given for its decision.

Refund consumers

Pua today also said KR1M should refund consumers who had already bought the milk products, adding that this was the standard international practice.

He said the announcement to recall the products made on its website did not attract a large audience.

“Who reads the website? The announcement should be made in (newspapers such as) Utusan (Malaysia), Sinar (Harian) or Beita Harian instead… it (KR1M) has failed to make a public announcement to warn the public from further consuming the milk products,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to FMT, Deputy Health Minister, Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, said that the ministry was awaiting test results from Pua on the alleged contaminated products.

“(In the case of the children’s milk), reading the labels alone is not enough; the real content of the products needs to be determined and that is important.

“We have asked the lab reports from Pua but we have yet to receive them,” she said.

She added that the ministry has also had several meetings with the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry.

KR1M, which is run by Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd, falls under the jurisdiction of the Domestic Trade Ministry.

On whether her ministry should suspend the KR1M products, Rosnah said that the ministry had no jurisdiction to recall the products.

“It is not our ministry’s prerogative to recall the products but we will definitely advice the Domestic Trade Ministry and other parties because we are equally as anxious as well,” she said.

She said that the safety and quality division of her ministry is conducting its own tests (on the milk products) and will issue a statement when the results are known.


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