882 drink, ice factories found unlicensed

Consumers are advised to check product labels before buying the products.

PETALING JAYA: A special operation this month by the health ministry has identified 882 or 76.5% of factories producing water products and ice without a licence.

The nationwide operation from July 21 to 23 was carried out on 1,153 premises producing water products, such as natural mineral water and packet drinks, as well as water vending machines.

Fewer than 30% of them were found to be licensed by the ministry, which is mandatory under the Food Act 1983.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 389 water vending machines were confiscated and four premises closed for cleaning.

“Forty-eight notices have been issued to owners of factories and water vending machines who failed to follow the provisions under the Food Act 1983,” he said in a statement.

Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Under the Food Regulations 1985, manufacturers and water vendors found guilty of operating without a licence are liable to two years’ jail and a maximum fine of RM10,000.

Noor Hisham said the ministry’s food safety and quality department would continue to crack down on errant factories.

He advised consumers to check product labels or labels on water vending machines for their licence numbers before buying the products.