Checks to ensure recalled lettuce not allowed back in Malaysia

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 07 Oct 2018

PETALING JAYA: The country will monitor all checkpoints to ensure Malaysian-grown vegetables pulled off the shelves in Singapore are not allowed back into the local market.

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industries’ enforcement body, the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (Maqis), would act on it, said minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.

His remarks followed reports that iceberg lettuce from a Malaysian farm had been recalled by authorities in Singapore after high levels of the pesticide Fipronil were found in them.

The greens were distributed for sale at NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong supermarkets in the republic.

It was reported that one of the supermarket chains’ Food Safety and Quality Department revealed that “whitish substance” was found on a batch of iceberg lettuce and a sample was then sent to Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority on Oct 2 for laboratory tests.

Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals. It is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry.

Salahuddin said locally produced vegetables were safe to eat as the supply chain of vegetables for the export market did not affect the local market.

Federation of Vegetable Farmers Associations of Malaysia president Tan So Tiok agreed, adding that the recall did not necessarily mean the rest of the batch or other produce in the farm were unsafe.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had investigated and found that the lettuce was being sold locally under the “Vege 2 Fresh” brand.

In a statement yesterday, he also said the company concerned was recalling its products from the market, and vendors had been asked to immediately stop the sale of the produce.

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