Vitamin check: Ensuring health supplements are what they are claim to be


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 14 Jul 2007

newsdesk@thestar.com.my 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will conduct an exercise to verify the vitamin and mineral content in health supplements as claimed by manufacturers. 

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek told The Star that the assessment would take three months and would be carried out by its food quality and safety, and pharmaceutical services divisions. 

“There are plenty of vitamins and minerals as claimed, but nobody knows whether this is true or not. It is a long-term continuous exercise,” he said.  

He said that another reason for the study was because vitamins or minerals when consumed excessively can sometimes do “more harm than good.” 

“A study indicates that 20% of Malaysians, mostly in urban areas, are fond of taking food supplements,” he said, adding that the ministry was increasingly concerned about food quality and safety. 

According to the Malaysian Dietary Supplement Association, Malaysians spend between RM50 and RM100 a month on health supplements. 

The association found that vitamins C, E, B complex, multivitamins, folic acid and calcium are among the more popular dietary supplements, while evening primrose oil, Omega 3 fish oil, gingko biloba, royal jelly and cod liver oil make up popular natural supplements.  

In a report, the association stated that the health supplement and traditional medicine industry in the country was worth RM4.5bil, with an annual growth rate of 10% to 12%. 

Dr Chua also disclosed that the World Health Organisation has selected Malaysia as its Global Service Centre where administrative and financial services for all WHO offices worldwide will be handled.  

He said that Kuala Lumpur was chosen from a shortlist which included Chennai, New Delhi and Manila. 

Renovations on the office would begin in October with training and competency operations. The initial workforce is expected to be between 15 and 20 WHO officers from Geneva, and 70 to 80 local employees.  

Dr Chua said full operations were expected to begin next year while staff intake would be conducted in stages until the end of 2009 when the Global Service Centre should employ about 200 locals.  

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