KUALA KANGSAR: Two popular herbal drinks with the brand name of Orang Kampung have violated the Food Act and Regulations 1985 by having misleading claims on the labels.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Abd Razak Kechik said the claims on the labels of Kacip Fatimah and Tongkat Ali that the drinks could kill cancer cells, cure hypertension, diabetes and malaria and increase female hormones were against Rule 18 (3) of the Act.
He said the department had seized several cans of the drinks from shops here.
Dr Abd Razak said producers were prohibited from stating that their food and drink products contained health, medicinal or stimulant values.
The claims by the manufacturers contravened the health principle as there is no drug that could kill cancer cells except radiation treatment while diabetes could only be controlled and not cured completely, he said during the departments operation to check on food products sold at sundry shops in Taman Bunga Raya here yesterday.
We do not want people to believe and depend on the products for treatment of certain illnesses, he said.
Dr Abd Razak said records at the Ipoh Hospital showed that many cancer patients, especially Malays, had only sought treatment at a late stage.
He said the department would take the producer Syarikat Perniagaan Orang Kampung, based in Merlimau, Malacca, to court for misleading the public.
Under the act, he said the company could face a jail sentence of up to two years and a maximum fine of RM5,000 upon conviction.
The department also seized bottled mineral water for not bearing the Health Ministry approval code.
The approval code KKM (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia) is to ensure that the source of the mineral water is clean and is bottled according to the standard set by the ministry, he said,
In Malacca, the producer of Kacip Fatimah and Tongkat Ali denied that information printed on the canned drinks was misleading.
Syarikat Perniagaan Orang Kampung factory manager Wan Saiful Wan Wan Haizan said the claims on the labels were vetted and approved by the relevant authorities after several amendments before the products entered the market more than a year ago.
He added the company had yet to receive any official notification from the health department.
The words on the cans do not claim that the drinks can cure cancer or other illnesses. We merely quoted research findings that said extract from Tongkat Ali is believed to have certain medicinal values.
We will contact the Health Ministry as soon as possible to get clarification on the matter, he said, adding he was shocked to learn about the seizure by Perak health department in the media.
Wan Saiful said the factory with 30 workers in Merlimau produced 48,000 canned drinks daily and the products were distributed nationwide, including Sabah and Sarawak.
He said the drinks, priced at RM2.80 each, were also exported to Singapore and Indonesia.
He added the company, established in 1994, also produced Pegaga and Noni drinks.
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