KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry has given the assurance that the use of bleaching agent benzoyl peroxide in wheat flour and food, is safe and permitted according to Food Regulations 1985 under the Food Act 1983.
Health ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 202 samples of a variety of flour in the market have been monitored since 2014 and were found to have adhered to the regulations.
He explained that the substance had also been assessed and certified safe for use in food by international rating agencies, namely the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (Jecfa).
“Hence, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), which is an international body established under Jecfa, had authorised the use of benzoyl peroxide in wheat flour,” he said in a statement here.
He was commenting on a video which has gone viral on social media highlighting claims by the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) that benzoyl peroxide in wheat flour could affect health.
Noor Hisham said that the addition of benzoyl peroxide in wheat flour has so far been permitted in other countries such as Japan and the United States, while the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code allowed it to be used in all foods.
He said the ministry was always mindful of things that could threaten the health of consumers and would not hesitate to take action if there was scientific evidence from international bodies, such as Codex and Jecfa, to prove that substances in food were hazardous to health.
He added that the public could contact the nearest district health office or state health department or visit the ministry’s website at moh.spab.gov.my or its facebook at www.facebook.com/bkkmhq, if they have any concerns about food safety issues.