Health Ministry checking Australian strawberries following needle scare

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 20 Sep 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has imposed checks on all fresh strawberries imported from Australia as a precaution following the recall of certain strawberries by the Australian authorities.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the move was in response to a report by Astro Awani on Monday after it emerged that needles had been found in the fruit and inside packaging for the fruit.

Australian authorities have also assured that as of Sept 19, strawberries exported from Australia would be free of metal contamination as it was issuing a Request for Permit (RFP) to exporters to resolve the problem.

Nonetheless, the Health Ministry is not leaving anything to chance.

“As a precautionary measure, the ministry, through the Food Safety and Quality Division, has imposed checks on all fresh strawberries imported from Australia at all entry points in the country.

“The ministry is working closely with the Australian High Commission Office in Malaysia on the issue,” said Dr Noor Hisham in a statement on Thursday (Sept 20).

The report by the Astro Awani revealed that the Australian Food Safety Authority had recalled the following strawberry brands: Berry Obsession, Berry Licious, Love Berry, Donnybrook Berries, Delightful Strawberries and Oasis.

Batches had been found to contain needles as a result of sabotage.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that all food imported must adhere to the Food Act 1983 and its regulations.

“It is the responsibility of importers, agents, sellers to ensure that the food products they import and sell in the market adhere to the law,” he said.

"Section 13 of the Food Act requires that those involved in importing, distributing, keeping and selling food which contain poison or is harmful to health can be fined not more than RM100,000 or jailed not more than 10 years or both," he said.

To ensure the safety of the people, Dr Noor Hisham gave the assurance that the ministry would continue to monitor and take necessary action on food safety.

Those with issues relating to food safety can contact the district health office or the state health department or contact through or visit the Food Safety and Quality Division facebook
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