Health ministry to probe bottled water banned in Singapore

Singapore banned the import of bottled drinking water from the Malaysian manufacturer after it detected bacteria in the products. (AFP pic.)

KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry will investigate the case of bottled drinking water manufactured in Malaysia, which was banned in Singapore yesterday due to the presence of bacteria.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said more information is needed to carry out the investigation as the ministry also noticed that the manufacturer has some products sold locally.

“We need more information as to what batch was affected and the source of the problem.

“If the products which are sold domestically are affected, we will immediately recall them,” he told reporters at a dinner here last night.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) banned the import of all bottled drinking and mineral water from the manufacturer with immediate effect after it detected the presence of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in the products following a surveillance.

The environmental bacteria is commonly found in faeces, soil, water and sewage. Consumption of products contaminated with the bacteria can cause a range of infections but rarely serious illness in healthy individuals.

It was the second case of imported bottled water from Malaysia found with the bateria. On June 12, SFA said it had detected the presence of the bacteria in “Starfresh” bottled drinking water during a routine sampling.

Lee said action would be taken against the manufacturer according to the Food Act 1983 if it was found to be at fault.

He said his ministry is working closely with the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry to encourage industries to use the track and trace system to ensure food products are clean and safe.

“With the track and trace system, we can ensure the process of distributing food products, from packaging to logistics until delivery, is safe.

“If any problem of cleanliness occurs, we can trace to which outlet or market the product has gone,” he said.