PETALING JAYA: The health ministry will investigate the makers of three popular biscuit and cracker brands after a Hong Kong group said it found cancer-causing substances in their products.
It said the manufacturers of the three Malaysian brands listed in a report by a Hong Kong group were all certified.
The Hong Kong Consumer Council said yesterday that high levels of cancer-causing substances were found after it tested 60 samples of biscuits and crackers sold in Hong Kong.
It said the carcinogens emerge because of the high temperatures used when making the products, and are caused by certain ingredients used in baking biscuits or crackers.
In an emailed response to FMT, the health ministry’s food safety and quality division said early checks showed that the Malaysian makers of the biscuit brands were certified and practised strict food safety controls.
“Acrylamide and glycidol are contaminants that can be produced during food processing,” it said.
“These can be controlled through the selection of appropriate raw materials and processes,” it said. “We are now carrying out verification at their premises to check on this issue.”
On the consumer council’s claim of inaccuracies in nutritional information, the ministry said food manufacturers were allowed to declare values on an “allowable scale” and wrong information would be checked as well.
On Monday, the council said it tested 60 samples of biscuits and crackers sold in Hong Kong and found almost all to contain glycidol and acrylamide.
It said 56 samples contained high levels of 3-MCPD, an organic chemical compound that is said to adversely affect the kidneys and male fertility.
Some 85% of the samples had high sodium, sugar and fat content, it said, adding that the nutrition labels were also found to be inaccurate in 40% of the samples tested.
FMT has reached out to the biscuit manufacturers and is awaiting their reply.