KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will conduct checks on samples of pre-mixed coffee taken off the rack following allegations the beverage left consumers with extreme fatigue, weakness and fainting in Penang.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the Ministry had already checked the pre-mixed coffee factory and could not find evidence related to the cases.
"Now, we will also check specimens taken off the rack to determine whether there is anything that had contributed (to the condition).
"If there is any criminal element, then it has to be dealt with in a different way," he told reporters after launching the "World Cancer Week 2018" programme here Monday (Feb 5).
It was reported that three men and two women were treated at the Penang Hospital between Jan 28 and Jan 30 after experiencing extreme fatigue and weakness.
They were alleged to have consumed pre-mixed coffee.
On Sunday (Feb 4), two garbage truck drivers were warded at the hospital after drinking white coffee which left them suffering from dizziness and bouts of vomiting.
Dr Subramaniam said he had also asked the Ministry's Food Safety and Quality division to conduct random sampling of the coffee, adding that the results would be known after a week.
The programme, which was jointly-organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) and The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), was held in conjunction with World Cancer Day on Sunday.
NCSM president Dr S. Saunthari said 37,000 people were diagnosed with cancer each year in the country and that 22,000 succumb to the disease.
She said the high death toll was partly caused by the lack of early recognition of symptoms, adding that the most common cancers currently were often diagnosed at the late stage.
"For example, 40% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed at stage three or four, 65% of colorectal cancer patients share the same fate and it is 60, 90 and 60% for cervix, lung and nasopharyngeal cancer, respectively," she added.
Dr Saunthari said the NCSM would host the World Cancer Congress in October, where thousands of cancer control experts worldwide would share ideas, best practices and success stories.
"Malaysia is the first country in South-East Asia to hold the congress, and it is an excellent opportunity for our stakeholders, nationally or regionally, to connect, learn and embrace one another," she added. - Bernama